For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

 

What was your favorite Christmas present? And why?

I’ll bet it was something from your childhood. Mine was.

My friend, Carol, from up the street, had two rubber baby dolls bought at the Worlds’ Fair in New York before the war. Now it was 1946, after the war, and rubber was scarce. I didn’t know that. I just wanted two rubber baby dolls, too, and campaigned for them with all the energy and persistence of my six-year-old heart.

Imagine my joy to see those dolls under the tree Christmas morning, with a dresser full of beautiful clothes sewed by my grandmother. I especially remember little pink coats trimmed with lace and bonnets to match…

My mother told me later she scoured New York City to find them.  And I am awed by my grandmother’s work—especially as I recall she never used sewing patterns, but made clothing “from scratch,” as she put it.

It was the time and effort, the love those women invested, that made their gift so special.

When my parents sold my childhood house, I gave the dolls and their clothes to the young daughter of a good friend. They probably wore out and ended up in a landfill somewhere. Sad, but that’s the way of all gifts…

Except the One God gave us at Christmas—the best gift of all, a gift which can’t be lost, stolen or broken, a gift which never wears out or goes out of style. Circumstances can’t change it. Time can’t fade it. The darker the world becomes, the brighter His Gift shines. Through the amazing gift of His Son, God promises us eternal, perfect life, the world as He intended. Eden. Forever. And “God is not a man that He should lie.” (Numbers 23:19)

John the Visionary described it: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. …He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. … Behold! I am making everything new.’” Revelation 21:3-5

God gave us this special Gift for the same reason we give special gifts: love. Love which began in a manger…and ended on a cross.

“And the greatest gift we can give our great God,” writes Ann Voskamp, “is to let His love made us glad.”

FATHER GOD: Let me rejoice in Your wonderful, amazing Gift, now and always! Amen.

First published in “Bozeman Daily Chronicle,” December 20, 2020.