One of my favorite Christmas memories was one my papaw loved to tell. I had went shopping with my grandparents one day several weeks before Christmas in 1995. I was 10. As we were walking through the store, we stopped by the jewelry counter and there was a Mickey Mouse watch that caught my eye. I loved it. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, lol! The jeweler got it out of the case and let me try it on and I was instantly sold. Mamaw had went off on her own and it was just me and my papaw. He told me, “Lets go get Mamaw and you can show her.” So we did. It was a long, long time ago and a few of the details are blurry, but I can remember excitedly telling her about the watch and that she needed to see it. Papaw disappeared for a few minutes, but I was so excited and as a child I didn’t notice. My mind was filled with getting the watch. Papaw finally returned and we all went to the jewelry counter again to see “MY” watch. Only when we got there, it was gone! (I laugh just thinking about it again.) I was so heartbroken. In tears. My precious Mickey Mouse watch was gone. Someone else had already bought it. They tried consoling me and telling me maybe the store would get another one in before Christmas. But my hopes were dashed. The world had ended. And we went home.
Fast forward to Christmas, and I had already forgotten all about the watch. After all the presents were opened, Mamaw and Papaw said they had one more gift. And it was FOR ME! I opened it and there was my Mickey Mouse watch, in all it’s Disney glory. I was so beyond happy and excited. And Papaw had to tell the story again. You could tell how much it meant to him.
Over the years, it was embarrassing to hear it over and over again. But he loved to tell it. “Do you remember that time I got that watch for you and you thought someone else had bought it? I’ll never forget it. You loved that watch!” Oh to hear him tell it one more time!
I can see his face in my mind. The love in his eyes and smile. He loved me. And was overjoyed to give me something that I wanted so much. Giving me something meant more to him than any gift he could’ve received. There aren’t enough words to describe his love for me, but if you’d known him, you would’ve seen it. You might’ve even heard the watch story yourself. He would tell complete strangers.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
As a child, that’s hard to grasp. And even as an adult, I still like to get gifts. But I find that I love to give them even more. I love to get someone something they really want or need. I don’t want to buy a gift just to say “I bought you a gift”. I like for it to have meaning. To be something special. It’s not always possible, but I try.
Someone who loved me even more than my papaw, even more than my parents or my husband, gave me the most precious gift anyone could ever give. That’s what Christmas is all about. Or what it should be about. God’s gift to us.
Can you imagine the joy He had in giving it? He sent His only begotten Son. Jesus willingly came to us. They both knew what horror and heartache was in store, and still they chose to give.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to give up everything you have? To leave the glorious brightness of Heaven for a sin-darkened world. To trade the comfort of your kingly home for a place with no where to even lay your head. To walk away from the praise and adoration that surrounded your throne, only to be mocked. Hated. Rejected. Cursed. Beaten. Ridiculed. Forsaken.
But it was His joy to give us this gift of salvation.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
We were that joy that caused him to endure the cross. But He gave us so much more than just salvation! He gave us Himself. He lived and walked on this earth for our example. So when we come to Him with our pain and troubles, He KNOWS!! Because He’s been there! He doesn’t understand what it feels like to mess up and sin, but He knows what our sin felt like because He became sin FOR US!
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
The perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb of God took our sins on Himself so we could be made righteous. What an undeserving gift!
Maybe we think about that sacrifice every year at Christmas because it’s why we celebrate. A day set aside to rejoice that Jesus was born. That He came to die for us so we could enjoy a home in Heaven.
But what gift do we bring HIM? Is a Sunday morning service enough? Maybe we pray before a couple meals. We don’t go out and live a wild and sinful life. That’s enough, right? Maybe we leave a few tracts at a restaurant. Or do a few good deeds. Maybe we read our Bible once a month, because we just had time. I mean, how much does Jesus expect. That’s enough, right?
We would never really say that aloud, would we? I mean, my goodness. We ARE Christians and we know what all Jesus did for us. He needs more than that.
True. We might never speak those words. But we sure live them.
There is nothing I could ever give that would repay Christ. But all He asks for is me.
Not everyone has a lot of money to buy gifts. But you don’t have to be rich to give to Jesus.
Not everyone is wise to think of clever gifts to bring. But you don’t have to be smart to give to Jesus.
You don’t even have to be worthy. Because we aren’t.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him?
Give Him my heart.
But our lives are what mean the most to us. We like to live them for ourselves. We like to go our own way, do our own thing. Have control over what we can do and what we can’t. So to give Jesus our life is the most precious thing we can give. My heart, my time, my dreams, my plans, my wants, my everything is all wrapped up in my life. And what a gift to give someone!
We’d never think of coming to our Christmas gatherings without gifts. Whether they are bought with money, gifts of time, or handmade from the heart.
But we come before the One who is most deserving of a gift with nothing.
This is a picture of me as I opened my watch so many Christmases ago. Can you see that excitement? Can you imagine what our Heavenly Father does when we give Him our gift?
Because when we do, we let Him have the control. We let Him have His way. We surrender our wants and dreams and desires for His. And though sometimes it hurts and feels like a lot to give, we sit back and watch, like my papaw. And we are filled with joy. Because yes, we gave something that meant so much. But the blessings reaped from a life and heart given to Jesus can’t be measured. And so, we tell the story over and over. Of how God’s goodness overflows in our life. It never gets old.
It was only a simple, childish watch. It’s not worth any money. It’s not even particularly pretty to me today. In fact, I don’t even know why I wanted it so much. But I did. I loved the watch and papaw loved me.
My life is not that great of a gift. I don’t know why anyone would want it. But Jesus loves my life. And I loves Jesus. He takes what is surrendered and sees the worth. Even though it’s not much.
Christmas is the perfect time to give a gift. But make it the gift that keeps on giving. Jesus deserves all of us, all the time.
And so, so much more.
As I was writing this, it kind of got confusing to make the illustration fit. Because it was Christ’s joy to bring us salvation. And it is our joy to receive it. Then it is Christ’s joy when we give Him something back. But it becomes our joy again because He keeps on giving and giving. It’s an endless circle of grace and joy. What a wonderful, loving, giving Savior! We don’t deserve Him but I’m thankful He still offers Himself to whomsoever will!