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 that same conversation this year 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:
Immanuel: Praying the Names of God through the Christmas Season by Ann Spangler

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

Find more Christmas family traditions with P31 radio show A Cup of Christmas COCOA

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.

Reflections:
Have You Received the Ultimate Gift?

How can I help my family 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)

© 2009 by Gina Parcells. All rights reserved.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

True Christmas Story.

http://www.cog21.org/site/cog_archives/booklets/PTXMAS.htm

John 8:32 - "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.cog21.org/site/cog_archives/booklets/PTXMAS.htm

Anonymous jennifersferrau@gmail.com said...

What a great idea! I already know who in our family will receive this special gift this year.
Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I will have to do that, too. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea!

Anonymous Ramona said...

Thank you so for sharing. Already for this year, I want to teach & show my loves ones the most important gift ever they can recieve, and that is "Jesus" who will always & forever be with them & love,protect them. Thanks again for your ideal of giving......

Anonymous Mommy Melback said...

Love the idea of giving someone the Gift each year.
It also made me realize I do not have a nativity scene. How sad.
Awesome to make me aware of it and GET ONE. I took stock in my home if someone walks in will they know just by looking that we are a home that serves the Lord.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome idea, I know what I'm going to be wrapping this week for someone in my family. Here is a poem that I'm including with the gift."You are holding the ULTIMATE gift entrusted in your care,
Don’t keep it to yourself, but share it every day, everywhere.
Because there are many others looking everywhere to find,
The gift that you now hold, but it is for a different kind.
They don’t know what it looks like and that it gives eternal life,
Show them how receiving this gift has totally changed your life.
Then next year at Christmas, when we’re all together here,
Please tell us what God did when you shared Jesus throughout the year." By Camille Noden
Thanks again for sharing! God Bless! Merry CHRISTmas!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your devotion. I needed to hear that more than ever this holiday season. I am so thankful for the gift of our Lord & Savior JESUS Christ. He truly is the best CHRISTmas present anyone could ask or hope for.

Blogger Kiki said...

What a great family tradition. I love it!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this devotional! I dont have a nativity set, but now I must have one just to do this! Thanks for the inspiration.

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