Reciprocal Giving

At this gift-giving time of the year, I think about the real Gift that was given, the Gift about which the whole Christmas holiday revolves.  As I read Isaiah 53, I am reminded of the magnitude of God’s gift to us and how excruciatingly painful that gift was for Jesus to give.  It is overwhelming to me that He would knowingly offer Himself to His lowly, rebellious creatures (whom He lovingly made) to be tortured to death in their place.

The happy result of this Gift was our justification.  “. . being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 3:24

This new, unexpected, unearned rightness before God that we receive is a staggering benefit.  It is hard to get our minds around how much this means to us.  To be given something freely that, all our lives, we’ve been unable to obtain, despite our many earnest efforts!  The epiphany of this realization is that it is more appropriate this season that we should give to God the most precious gift we can muster, in humble gratitude for what He has done for us.  To quote Gustav Holst in his last verse of In the Bleak Midwinter,

What can I give Him, poor as I am?                                                                                                 If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;                                                                                   If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;                                                                                  Yet what I can I give Him?    Give Him my heart.

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.            Romans 12:1

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