The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you ask.” Numbers 14:20  

In Jesus Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7  

Here we are just a few days before Christmas. After weeks of ads touting the most wonderful gifts we can buy, there are still shows telling us we can get those last gifts in time for Christmas.. There is such a huge emphasis on gifts: getting the right gift, surprising the person, having beautifully wrapped gifts that get to the recipient on time.  There are also reports of lots of anxiety about having the perfect Christmas. Once having told us about all the wonderful gifts we can buy the same TV programs bring on experts to tell us how to handle all the anxiety of Christmas.  

The emphasis on giving and getting gifts can be overwhelming and we might forget the greatest gift of all, the reason we celebrate Christmas. The gift that Paul writes to the Ephesians about. A gift that lasts forever – redemption and forgiveness for all of us.   

I found a list of four things about this gift from God. First, the gift was surprising. We often try to surprise people with gifts, but they usually have it figured out. God’s gift to us of forgiveness through Jesus, no matter what, is truly surprising. Secondly, this gift comes in the humblest of wrappings. No shiny paper and elaborate ribbons, just plain swaddling clothes in a humble setting among ordinary people. Third, we really don’t deserve this present. Many of the recipients of our gifts do deserve a present as they are family, have given us gifts, or have helped us. God sent His son, to everyone, not just those the world would think should receive it.   

Finally, fourth, gifts often tell us something about the giver. This gift was not picked out at the last minute and given in a hurry. God had planned our redemption and eternal life since He created the earth and humans. We see this in the story of Moses, pleading for the people who were totally upset with him and God. Moses says please forgive them, and God agrees. In the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we truly have a gift that keeps on giving. 

Heavenly Father, in this time of much gift giving and getting, turn our eyes towards the greatest gift of all – the life and salvation we receive through the gift of your son Jesus Christ. We are rich because of your grace and mercy. Forgiving God, may we find strength and courage in your forgiveness. Cause our lives to overflow in forgiveness and love to others. Make us advocates for all those in need; through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen. 

Chris Gabel