The Presidential Prayer Team devotional for December 15, 2015 is entitled “Shaking Not Necessary”. It is an excellent devotional thought that begins with the Christmas gift exchange experience of shaking the package and wondering what it contained. I would encourage you to read the devotional for yourself, at http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/devo.
When I read the opening paragraph, my mind immediately went back to a Christmas almost 30 years ago when my daughter was trying to guess what her present was. I was wrapping gifts in the bedroom with the door closed and she was on the other side asking if she could “help”. As parents, you would understand that the help being offered was actually an attempt to see if she could identify her gifts early.
I declined her invitation and she wanted to know why. I told her I was wrapping her gift and she then began a barrage of questions about what it was, how big, etc. Finally, in frustration, I told her that she should not bother me anymore because I had to be careful. When she asked why, I said it was fragile and I didn’t want it to fall off the bed while I was wrapping it. She was quiet and I finished wrapping the gift.
When the wrapping was completed, I opened the door to find her sitting on the floor, leaning against the door, waiting to carry her fragile gift to the tree. The irony was that this was not her only gift, nor was it the most expensive. But because it was the one that I told her was fragile, it was the paramount gift under the tree as far as she was concerned.
She scooped it up, v-e-r-y slowly and with great care. Holding it out in front of her as if it were nitroglycerin and walking with “baby steps” so it would not be jostled. She went down the stairs and arrived at the tree. After putting the precious gift on a chair, she knelt down and made a space under the tree so that her fragile gift would not touch anything else. Then she placed the gift under the tree.
Each day before Christmas she would look at the tree, check to be sure that nothing encroached on the space she had cleared, and her fragile gift was intact. Her brother would move packages around so they would almost hide THE gift, and she would patiently move everything away so that nothing would harm the fragile gift being given to her.
Seeing her concern made me sick at heart. I was proud of her care for the gift, but the reality was that her gift was a just plastic bottle of bubble bath, obtained from Walgreen’s, and it now had the cherished place under the tree. I even asked my husband if we should switch packages and get something that actually was fragile. Holding the course, the package remained.
On Christmas morning, it was the first to be opened. And the family had an incredible experience watching her realization that she had been tricked – it was not a fragile gift at all. Even today, if someone mentions a fragile present, my daughter’s cheeks flush and she gets her ire up and the whole story is retold.
Clearly, I did not intend to hurt her feelings and I apologized profusely after she opened the package. The statement was made when I was tired, frustrated about wrapping presents, and as attempt to stop her incessant demand to come into the room. [She did, by the way, get several very nice presents that year, but the only one that is remembered is the giant bottle of bubble bath.]
My daughter’s gift was not fragile. The gift that God has given us is not fragile either – it is as strong as the Almighty God’s love and mercy.
Her gift was cheap bubble bath. In contrast, God’s gift was not cheap, it was His priceless Son, born as a Babe who ultimately died as our Sacrifice. God’s gift ultimately provided salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior whose birth as a babe is celebrated at Christmas.
The gift at Christmas from God is not a joke. It is not something that looks good on Christmas day but breaks or shuts down the next day.
The gift of God is Salvation – eternal life with God Himself.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Praise the Lord for His grace, mercy and love that was extended to us when Christ was born, and which was completed when Christ was crucified and raised again from the dead. His death atoned for my sin; so the salvation granted by the Lord is, indeed, a gift for which i am eternally grateful.
Praise Him, this holiday season. Remember the babe in the manger, but remember too that the babe is our Savior and Lord.
Father, thank you for your saving work through Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank you that you have given us salvation through faith in Christ. Thank you that you have sent the Holy Spirit to seal our salvation and to bring us into right relationship with you. Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. May you be honored this Christmas Season.