29 November 2008

What does your present say about you?

The presents we give at Christmas say a lot about how we feel towards people. I think there are two ways a present shows someone that we really love them.

1. The best presents are just what we need

A couple of years ago my Mum gave me a battery-powered hamster that sings ‘Here it is, Merry Christmas’ by Slade when you squeeze its paw. It’s quite fun, but the penknife she gave me to take to Africa has been much more useful. If someone sees that we need something and they get just the thing to help us, it proves that they really care for us.

2. The best presents are costly

Christmas is a very expensive time of year, and advertisers put lots of pressure on us to spend more than we should. But we all want to show our loved ones how much they mean to us by giving them a present that has cost us something. A gold necklace that cost a husband quite a bit will show his love to his wife much better than a plastic ring from a Christmas cracker.

I wonder if that’s one reason the Christmas angel said to the shepherds, ‘Today in the town of David a Saviour is born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’ (Luke 2.11) That verse shows how deeply God loves His people, because…

3. A Saviour is just what we need

A ‘Saviour’ is someone who saves people. A bit like a paramedic, or a fireman, Jesus comes to people in danger to save them. And Jesus saves His people from all kinds of terrible dangers. He saves them from an empty life. He saves His people from the anger He feels towards everyone who ignores His rules. He saves His people from death because He can promise them an even better life with Him after death. A Saviour is exactly what we need.

4. A Saviour is very costly

When we picture the newly-born Jesus ‘meek and mild in the manger’, we mustn’t forget the newly-dead Jesus who had been beaten up, tortured, and brutally murdered. Like the best presents, Jesus’ rescue is free, but it’s not cheap. It costs His followers nothing – but it cost Jesus His life to save us.

God’s gift to His people shows us how loving He is – He saw exactly what we needed, and He gave it to us even though it cost Him everything. So as we’re stuffed full of mince pies and turkey this Christmas, are we stuffed full of thankfulness to God as well?

Simon Tomkins
Associate Minister