All the gifts under the tree, have been opened. This time of year not one is left untouched. Even if by chance it was missing a tag and no one knew who it was for, before the holidays were over and the Christmas Tree went to the curb, someone opened that orphaned gift.
As you and yours unwrapped with reckless abandon, did you have any mishaps? Permit me to share just one. This from my fourth grade year. It was our class Christmas party on the last day of school and every student brought one gift to share with the student we had chosen out of a hat the week before. Only, the gift with my name on it wasn’t for me. As soon as I opened it that was apparent to both me and the mom of the student who brought it. I held them up, “leg warmers?” I believe I even said it in a tone of disgust. His mom was there and immediately piped in. “I’m sorry, those aren't for you; those are for Jaime’s aunt.” I’m not sure what gift was tagged with her name under the tree, but apparently it had something appropriate for a fourth grade boy in it. I don’t recall if I ever received the correct gift or not. However, I’ll never forget receiving the wrong one.
Certainly there was a gift under the tree from God to us this year as every year, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. Were any of the gifts under your tree marked for the Lord this year? Did you mark the right gift for him? What is it the Lord needs or wants from us?
You could wrap up that end-of- year charitable contribution, per tax laws there is still time. You might log the hours you’ve spent being neighborly clearing someone else’s snow this winter; might God be impressed to open that from you? If you gift wrapped your kindness and holiday cheer, and were able to carry it into the new year, would it be enough for our Lord to revere?
I’m reminded of what Martin Luther often said, “God does not need our good works.”
So what is it that God wants from us? What kind of gift should have his name on it? In Isaiah 44:5 the Lord gives us the hint we need. “One will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’” and “another will write on his hand ’The Lord’s.’” The gift the Lord wants is us. If we are going to tag anything as a gift to him, let it be nothing less than our very selves. The apostle Paul knew this and tells us the same in Romans 12: 1 “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.”
Now the real question, did you give the Lord the right gift this Christmas?
If not, there’s always time to exchange it. The great things is, when God gets the right gift from us, our neighbor gets the right gift from us too. That’s how Luther often finished that statement about good works, he’d say God doesn’t need them, so “the Christian makes haste to give himself wholeheartedly to his neighbor … whatever way he finds he can serve his neighbor, he does gladly and willingly, before he asks him.”
As We head into this new Year, lets make sure we’ve got the right tags on the right gifts