Love: Week Four – Day Five

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NRSV)

We are so close to Christmas Day! In just a few dozen hours we will all be gathered together ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord. What’s more, we will finally be able to open all the gifts underneath the Christmas tree.

When theologian and Pastor Samuel Wells was a young man, his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before she passed away, she managed to muster up enough energy to go out and buy him a special gift. She wrapped it in beautiful paper and tied it with a bow, but instead of giving him the gift she placed it in the closet for safekeeping. She told Samuel that his father would give him the gift on his eighteenth birthday, a birthday she would not live to see. For years, he dreamed of what might be in the box in the closet.

Sometime after her death, but before his birthday, their home was robbed. Someone broke in through a window and stole several items of value, but there was nothing more valuable than the beautifully wrapped box tucked away in the closet. Samuel never opened his mother’s gift.

Samuel was never able to enjoy his mother’s gift, but the gift of Christ is at our fingertips. We must not let it slip away. It is such a powerful gift that it transforms both our past and our future. As to our past, Jesus offers forgiveness and turns our grief into joy. As to our future, we receive the wonderful blessing of the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

The gift of Jesus is the most valuable gift of all. As we approach Christmas morning, I want to encourage you to be present for the present of Jesus. Do not allow this moment to pass you by. Isaiah reminds us to pay attention to the moment at hand and to notice the new gift God is offering us in Christ. Savor the celebration. Reflect on God’s love for you. Let your eyes be opened to the glory of God. That God would give us such a gift is truly a reason to rejoice.

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