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IT IS BETTER TO RECEIVE THAN TO GIVE

 
Christmas season is upon us and leaves us watchfully waiting for what will soon appear.  But what, what will appear?  What are we longing to see with eager anticipation?  Will it be from a special person, or just more socks from mom?  We hinted, we sent a list, perhaps even messaged a photo or two as we casually walked the isles of our favorite stores.  Hoping, waiting, eagerly anticipating that soon, God would grant us our hearts desire, with all its glory.
 
As we unwrap each corner carefully, fighting to maintain control and not give in to eagerness, we tear each corner desperately holding onto the excitement until, finally, it is revealed.  All the hinting, all the texting, and all the hoping has finally come to its end.  It seemed to take forever, but at just the right time, in just the right place, in just the right way, our hearts desires are satisfied… well, at least for a while.  
 
Christmas is amazing, but it is only a momentary fulfillment of our current heart’s desire.  The gifts will fade, the lights will get packed away, and even the tree will find a new home.  Before we know it, we are trading our mittens for sunscreen and our snow caps for visors as the spring, as if on a schedule, breaks into the cold winter and reminds us that Easter is around the corner.  We all love Christmas, but is it possible to love Christmas too much?  We love the anticipation of getting just the right gift, but really, it’s just the right gift for now, isn’t it?  

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christmas could stay just a little longer? It can, but not if it’s about the presents under tree.  You see, Christmas is about the man who hung on the tree. When Christmas is about Jesus, about his life, his death, and his resurrection, then we celebrate not a season of hope, but a life filled with hope.  All of this is possible, simply because Jesus came into the world that first Christmas.

 

The greatness of Christmas is that not only do we celebrate the gift of a savior by giving gifts to others, but we anticipate the return of the savior.  God has set into motion a plan that will redeem his creation from the darkness that has fallen upon it because of our disobedience.  This great sin has plagued humanity from the beginning, but we can be free of it.  How?  By accepting into our lives, the greatest gift ever given to humanity. 

 

GRACE

 

Grace, simply put, is receiving what you do not deserve.  When someone has wronged you, they deserve to be punished.  But God chose to bare the punishment of our sin rather than making us pay the price.  This happened when Jesus, who lived a completely sinless life, was crucified.  In his crucifixion, he took on all the pain and suffering, all the sin and evil the world had known and would know, and he received from God the punishment in our place. 

 

This payment for the penalty of sin, has released us from the guilt of our sin, and made it possible for us to have relationship with God.  You can receive grace into your life by acknowledging that you are unable to pay the penalty yourself, and that you need Jesus to do it for you, only he is qualified to do it.  This act of belief in what Jesus has done is salvation.  Only those who believe can be saved!  

 

Will you believe that Jesus really can save you from your sin?  If you do, then you have received the greatest gift that can be given.  Reach out to fellow believers who can answer your questions and help you see that Christmas can be more than a season. It can be a beginning.  It truly is better to receive than to give…but giving is pretty amazing too.  

 

If you have received the gift of salvation, then make it your mission to partner with the Savior to give the gift of Christmas.  Some of the greatest gifts in the world are best when shared with friends and family, are they not?  Why not share Christmas too?   

 

Pastor Kevin Levin

Grace Community Baptist Church, Astoria, OR.

 

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