December 27                     The Unexpected Gift Deb Price

Just like that, it was over. All the gifts from under the tree had been opened. The child sat staring at the tree skirt that was, only a few minutes ago, completely concealed by gifts. But now, the skirt was exposed, void of presents, emptied of promise. She had received everything she had asked for so she wondered why she felt this sense of disappointment deep within her spirit. It didn’t make sense, but although she now possessed more than before, it somehow escalated her feelings of emptiness. The anticipation and excitement that preceded this special day far exceeded the reality of the moment. She felt guilty and saddened by her seeming ungratefulness.

 

Then she heard a voice from behind call out her name. She turned to see her father. He had a big smile on his face, but that’s not all, there was another present in his hands and he held it out to his little girl. He said “I saved the best for last.” Her eyes lit up once more as she reached for that final package. She un-wrapped it gently, slowly, savoring every moment this unexpected gift offered. She finally opened the box. Her eyes grew wide with excitement. As she stared inside the box, all the other gifts she had received paled in comparison. They seemed so insignificant, so trivial. This gift was not on her list, yet it far surpassed all other gifts combined, from Christmas’ past, until this very moment. She picked it up and held it tightly. It was just right, the perfect gift for her. How could her father have known she would love this gift so? She didn’t even know she wanted it until he gave it to her. As ungrateful as she had been for all of the other gifts, she certainly didn’t feel she deserved it. She ran over and hugged her Daddy’s legs and thanked him over and over again for this beautiful, precious, unexpected gift. She promised to take special care of it and cherish it all the days of her life.

 

Before I met Jesus, the expectation of all of the things I thought would bring me security, happiness and fulfillment left me disappointed. The anticipation and excitement of finally receiving my own home, a good job, financial security, and independence far exceeded the reality of my life.

 

God often does that. He gives us what we think we want so we can see just how insignificant, trivial and empty those things really are apart from Him. Before Christ adopted me into His family, I felt like the best moments of my life were already over. Even though I had received everything I hoped for, everything I had asked for, I still felt empty. I had no more expectation of receiving anything better than I had already received.

 

Then God gave me an unexpected gift. He introduced me to His one and only Son. He had truly saved the best for last! I didn’t ask for Jesus, at least not at first. To be honest, I didn’t even have Him on my wish list, yet God extended His hands of mercy and presented to me the greatest gift I have ever, or expect to ever receive. Everything else pales in comparison. I didn’t deserve Him, but thankfully, God doesn’t always give us what we deserve.

 

So many of my Christmas’ were spent desiring what I longed to possess. Now, my desire is for Christ to possess my heart in such a way that there is no more room for emptiness at the end of the day, but rather, the joy the angels proclaimed that first blessed morning.

 

Jesus, you are a gift from God to me. You far surpass anything I have ever received in this life. You are just right, perfect for me. I promise to take special care of you and cherish you all the days of my life. I look forward to the day when I can physically hug my Daddy’s legs and thank Him for the gift of you!

 

Read and Discuss:

 

Read John 3:1-17

 

Have you ever felt ‘empty’, even though you’ve received gifts and blessings?

 

Which would you rather have—gifts that last a long time, or gifts that are short term?

 

Have you ever really ‘received’ God’s gift of Jesus into your life?

 

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