THE GIFT OF GOD

shepherds see angels

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

The greatest Christmas gift is Jesus Christ! We are impressed with the gifts which the Magi brought: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts were expensive and impressive. They inspire the giving of gifts during the Christmas season. However, the major giver for Christmas is God the Father, who gave his only begotten Son so that we might have forgiveness of our sins and gain an eternity in his presence.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Gifts are important at Christmas, are they not? Think of how the children look forward to Christmas day and the opening of gifts for which they have longed. Indeed, there are relatively few who are not enticed—and looking forward to receiving a gift at Christmas. We give Christmas gifts out of love. Sometimes we give Christmas gifts to impress. Some may even give Christmas gifts to outdo someone else in their giving. The purchase of Christmas gifts has become an important factor in our economy. We all know of Black Friday: the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the department stores claim to begin making a profit for the year. The commotion regarding Christmas has become an important economic factor for many businesses.

We read in Romans 3:24,

“…they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)

We note that gifts are given without any expectation of payment on the part of the receiver. Thus, when we speak of salvation we see it as an act of God’s grace. We are undeserving; unable to repay!

Much of the Christmas music that we cherish and enjoy reminds us of the greatness and glory of our God—and that the true riches are to be found in him. There is a lesson from the gospel of John, chapter four, when Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman near the well.

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

“Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies;

With the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings,

Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to Give them second birth.”

CHRISTMAS IS A TIME TO HUMBLY RECEIVE THE GREAT GIFT THAT GOD GIVES US

IN JESUS CHRIST—AND TO EXPRESS OUR ADORATION OF HIM.

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
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