I love Christmas, not all the commercialization but the fact the world celebrates the birth of our Lord Jesus. I also love that we give gifts to one another as a way of celebrating God’s incredible gift to us of making right our relationship with Him when He sent His Son Jesus to earth that first Christmas. When I was a child I couldn’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning to see if I had received my favorite toy, the gift I longed for most of the year. But something happened as I grew older; I married and had children and everything changed. Suddenly those Christmas gifts under the tree didn’t mean as much to me, rather I couldn’t wait to see the joy my children had as they discovered their gifts. As a parent, it is much more joyful for me to give to my children than it is for me to receive a gift.
This is a truth Jesus knew full well, and willingly led the way by giving up His life for us on the cross. Why would He willingly do such a thing? Love? Yes, love and obedience to the Father, but there is more; He understood and lived in the knowledge of: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35c) In fact the Hebrews writer put it this way: “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” (Hebrews 12:2b) What joy? The joy of knowing He was giving us a gift we could not give ourselves, a gift we could never earn, a gift only He could give. Joy awaited Him as He gave Himself on the cross because giving is the more blessed way to live. And He gave it all.