Have you ever received a gift that wasn’t complete? You know what I mean. Perhaps it was a gift card, something that had to be redeemed to purchase the gift of your choosing. Maybe it was what one would call an “IOU”, where someone gives this to you in a card or envelope promising to give you something in particular at some point in the future. In either case you received a gift that wasn’t truly realized until it was fulfilled.
Another example of such a gift, one that might help make the point better, is the gift of seeds. What if someone gave you a gift of apple seeds? Those seeds in and of themselves are not much of a gift, but if you plant the seeds and they grow into an apple tree producing a lot of apples, now that would be quite the gift wouldn’t you say? Especially if you really liked apples.
During this time of year people celebrate the greatest gift of all for mankind, and even then in the midst of the celebrating they often times forget about the gift itself. I’m talking about Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Christmas is without a doubt the biggest and most celebrated of holidays. It has also become the most commercialized as people spend a lot of money buying gifts and decorations for the holiday, and even giving sizable contributions of various types and amounts to a variety of people and charitable organizations.
So, what about this gift that often times gets overlooked in the midst of such activity. It’s the birth of Jesus, God’s gift to mankind. Churches put on Christmas programs focused around Jesus, and people put up nativity scenes all over the place. There is also a phrase that some will use to help remind others of this gift, “He is the reason for the season.” A lot goes into celebrating the birth of this Jesus in a manger, but the problem is that very few ever allow Him to leave the manger. As a result, for most they never truly experience the gift of Jesus as God intended them to. Let me explain.
God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, as a gift for all mankind, but the gift was not fulfilled in the manger as many attempt to do. Instead, the gift was fulfilled on a wooden cross hoisted on the top of Golgotha about 33 years later, and was realized three days later when He was resurrected from the dead. This was the gift God had destined for all mankind, the gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, Jesus.
We get all excited about the birth of Jesus, and rightfully so, but if we don’t let Him out of the manger and let Him get on a cross, then our celebrating of His birth is all in vain. If Jesus hadn’t died and rose again then there would be no celebrating of Christmas, or at least nothing anywhere close to what it is, and it wouldn’t have any real significance for us.
Are you embracing the gift God has given us as He intended we do, or are you just keeping Him in a manger where it’s safe and non-threatening to you and the way your living? People love Jesus while He is in a manger because a baby doesn’t threaten or interfere in their way of life, but if they let Jesus out of the manger to die on a cross then that forces them to take a real close look at their own lives in light of what Jesus did on their behalf, and a lot of people don’t like that.
As we celebrate the birth of this gift God has given us, will you also remember to let Him out of the manger to receive God’s gift to you in all His fullness??? He is more than the reason for the season, He’s the reason for celebrating the life He’s giving us in heaven through the cross and His resurrection.
He is the gift unrealized.