We’re now a full week into December and that means several things. It’s time to find those winter hats/gloves. It’s time to put up those Christmas lights. And it’s time to start doing SOME CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!
But this year, instead of spending all our time thinking about gifts for our loved ones, let me encourage you to take some time to think about what you will be offering to your Most Loved One – the One who loves you dearly and has given us everything that we need in life.
The other day, I spoke about how Jesus gave up all He had in order to come down and save us. But I thought of an even greater gift that was given at Christmas – one that is unparalleled in terms of the sacrifice made. It was the gift that God the Father was willing to let go of.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Letting go of your Son – your only Son – for the sake of another? That is unfathomable! No words can describe that kind of sacrifice made for us. The thought of sacrificing your own son is something that makes every parent cringe. We'd gladly sacrifice ourselves 100 times before letting anyone touch our children.
But the Father knew that He had to sacrifice His Son in order to save us. So if God loved the world/me so much that He was willing to give up His only Son, the most important question that you need to answer this Christmas is this...
What are you willing to give up for Him?
You may not realize it, but every single day you are offering gifts upon the altar of the Lord. Your actions, your words, your thoughts, your dealings with others… those are all chances you have to offer a gift to the Lord. Malachi 1:6-8 speaks about this:
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?” says the LORD of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, “In what way have we despised Your Name?”… When you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” says the LORD of hosts.
In the Old Testament, God designed a very specific and detailed system by which His people would worship Him. He gave them an altar and a specific system for how sacrifices were to be made upon that altar. One of the criteria for sacrifices [gifts] was that they were to be perfect and without blemish.
That principle still holds true today as well. God doesn’t want our leftovers or our trash. God both deserves and demands our very best. Why? Because He is worthy of it. It is shameful to think that I offer my best at work, my best to my friends, my best to my kids and then my worst to God.
As we prepare to offer gifts this year for our family and friends, let’s take some time out to think about what gifts we are offering to the Lord. We spend a lot of time and money on gifts for others; I hope we can do the same for our gift to the Lord. Every day, there is an altar in heaven that is waiting for gifts from you. It has your name on it and you decide what goes on it for each day.
For discussion: What gift can you give to God today?