The Gifts of Advent

6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7


When we think of Christmas, we likely think of many things. Christmas trees, Christmas carols, Christmas parties, Christmas lights. But let’s be honest – we usually think of Christmas presents first! We, humans, love getting and giving gifts at Christmas time. According to some estimates, Americans will collectively spend north of 700 billion dollars on Christmas gifts this year. That is billion, with a ‘B’.

Before we go to railing against the evils of commercial consumerism at Christmas time, let us consider the reason we exchange gifts during this season. The notion of gifts at Christmas actually has very ancient roots. Historically, the tradition was born out of the Biblical narrative of Jesus. As Christianity grew exponentially and Christians began celebrating the Incarnation – the Birth of Jesus, on December 25th, they adopted the tradition of giving gifts because of the gifts the Magi presented Jesus.

The irony of the Magi presenting gifts to Jesus was that Jesus Himself was a gift to those kings. And not just to the Magi, but to all of humanity. He was a gift foretold centuries ahead of time by prophets such as Isaiah.

For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Christmas is more about gifts than we might realize. As a father, giving gifts to my children is my favorite part of the Christmas celebration for a number of reasons. First, it gives me great joy to see the joy they receive when they get something they needed or wanted. Second, as a father, it gives me great joy to do for my children what they cannot do for themselves. Third, I love my kids. It really is that simple. I don’t love them for what they do for me or how smart they are. I love my children because they are my children. Because of this, it brings me great joy to give them good gifts.

Our Heavenly Father is a good Father and He enjoys giving good gifts to His kids. James, the New Testament Author, says it this way: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Your Heavenly Father is not temperamental or unreliable. He loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His greatest gift for you. We’ll explore that gift a little more closely over the next few days, but in the meantime, it’s okay to just sit and smile. Like a kid who has received a really great gift. The gift of love from your Father above.           


Further Reading: John 3:16-17

Reflection: What was your favorite gift you received as a child? What made it so special? Take 90 seconds to think about the gifts God has given you. What did you come up with?

Published by Brad Raby

Pastor

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