The Ultimate Gift
Gina Parcells, She Speaks! Graduate

“… God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” 1 John 5:11b (NASB)

Christmas day at my house had become all about the presents. The décor, the shopping, the parties, the tree…it all culminated with those gifts when it should be culminating with the Gift. Something needed to change.

What can I do to see Jesus as a gift, and to help my family see Him as well? I wondered. A light bulb went on in my head, about the same time the light strand went out on my tree, and a plan was birthed.

Phase one: Baby Jesus was removed from the displayed nativity set. He was carefully boxed and wrapped in my fanciest paper, intentionally labeled with a specific name, and gingerly hidden under the myriad of gifts at the foot of our tree.

Phase two: During our family gift exchange on Christmas morning, the disguised gift was handed to my unsuspecting daughter, the named recipient, just one of her many gifts. It could have been an I-pod or a sweater or another book…after all, there was no host of angels announcing the valuable contents. But knowing what I knew, I watched with great anticipation as she opened it.

Phase three: A bewildered look came across her face. Haley didn’t speak. I asked, “Haley, what did you get?”

“I got Jesus.”

An entire family discussion ensued as we discussed the ultimate Gift in the midst of all of our other presents. We compared the gift of Jesus with other gifts that would wear out, that would be outgrown, and that would eventually lose appeal.

We began to ask and answer lots of questions such as:

What is a gift? What is the purpose of a gift? What can we know about the giver of the gift? Why might the giver choose to give a gift to you specifically?

Together, we came up with truths about God…that He gave us the Gift that we need, that we want, and that we could never afford to get for ourselves. He wrapped that Gift in a blanket and gave – voluntarily, sacrificially, and lovingly – to each one of us, the named recipients of His greatest Gift.

We’ve invited Jesus back into Christmas to take His place as the perfect Gift that never stops giving. I can hardly wait to experience today’s conversation as a new family member opens the box and announces, “I got Jesus!”

Dear Lord, Too many times I have excluded You from my Christmas and been satisfied with presents and stuff. Let me not be content until I experience the gift of You in my heart. Cause me to see You as the ultimate Gift. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Have You Received the Ultimate Gift?

Homespun Memories from the Heart by Karen Ehman, Kelly Hovermale and Trish Smith

You are Special Today Plate

Listen to today’s radio show for more ideas of celebrating Christmas all year!

Application Steps:
Try wrapping up your nativity baby Jesus for a family member or a friend, and discuss the Gift He is during your gift exchange.

Print and store this page with your nativity set as a reminder next year to value Jesus as a gift.

Have you “got Jesus?”

How can I help my family to view Jesus as a gift?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (NASB)

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (NASB)

Romans 6:23b, “… the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASB)

© 2008 by Gina Parcells. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a neat idea. Our family's tradition started a few years back. Before opening presents, we read Luke's account of the birth of Christ and pray, thanking Jesus for being a willing sacrifice.

After opening presents we sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus around His birthday cake and blow out the candle. Then we eat the cake for breakfast. The kids love it (and so does my husband).

It is a great way to start the morning remembering why all the gifts are given in the first place. We also only get our children three gifts each. We explain to them that Jesus received the three gifts from the wise men. This also helps to keep some of the greediness out of the holiday.

I definitely agree that the reason for the season needs to be remembered, taught, and appreciated!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is a pastor and he gave a challenge to the congregation last Sunday to worship Christ on Chrismas day.

With that in mind, I began to think of a way that I could bring this about Christmas Day with all the chaos of opening gifts. So in each of of Grandchildren's stockings, I put a piece of the nativity. They were intstructed to pull out their piece first. Then through their understandings, we recreated the story of Christ' birth. It was a great way to get them involved and see how they saw the story. I do have to add that we had a humerous moment. One of my grandsons who is 6 had a wiseman and we asked him what did the wisemen do...he said he made the first airplane! His older brother corrected him and said, that was the Wright brothers not the wisemen! Afterwards my husband had special prayer. Then we went to the usual opening of gifts. It was very special for all of us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great idea and I plan to do this next year. This year as usual we read the Luke 2 account of Jesus birth but I also asked one of the children to hand out little cards with verses on one side and short prayer on the other side for each of us to read so that each person had a chance to read something of God's word. That was the most special and blessed time of Christmas for me. I could really see the impact of those verses especially to those who are growing older. Praise Your Holy Name, O Lord.

Anonymous Lara said...

This is an old post, but just what I was looking for. The thought of Christmas coming had already drained me. I had been praying about a practical way to put Christ back in Christmas and this is it! Thanks for this great reminder and idea!

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