The following article "A Gift For You" was published in Saturday's Muscatine Journal
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He became flesh and dwelt among us. But his own did not receive him” (John 1:1).
So says St. John, and how right he is. We are so difficult to give to aren't we? We are so proud, so afraid of being humbled, so resistant to receiving. When we get that unexpected gift from someone, our joy is mixed with other feelings. 'Oh, you shouldn't have,' we say. We mean it. Now I have to go out and get you something. We do the same with God. We don't want to be given to, we want to get for ourselves. We don't want to receive, we want to accept. We want to be able to say that we did the right thing, and you should too; we made the right choice, the right decision.
Repent. The baby in the manger pulls the plug on all that kind of talk. God came when no one asked for Him. He was born where there was no room for Him. Before He was invited, He came in the most humble of ways. Before we called on Him, He called on us. Before we let Him into our hearts, God took us into His own heart, and gave us His Child.
And that Light now shines in the darkness, even though the darkness has not grasped it. For the way of Christ our Light is so unlike this sin-darkened world that it cannot grasp it – neither can it understand it nor conquer it. For when the world gives, it expects something in return. But Christ gives without counting the cost. The Lord of Glory has purchased us with His own life-blood as the price – never grudging His tremendous sacrifice because of those who would refuse to be given to. Indeed, even besides this great gift He still daily and freely gives blessings countless as the sand to the unthankful and the evil with his own unsparing, nail marked hands.
That is Christmas. Christ giving His gifts. That's why we give gifts to each other – to remember and recall that Christ has given gifts to us. So we go out shopping and buy those gifts and then we bind them and wrap them, and we put them under the tree. You give me a tie, I give you a book, Aunt Martha always wanted an orange squeezer, Uncle Harry could use a new pipe, oh, we haven't forgotten anyone, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one, - the stocking for the Child born in a manger. He gets no stocking, He gets no presents: and that's the way He wants it. He doesn't want your gifts: He wants to be the gift. He gives Himself for you.
This Christmas may we all receive the Gift: Jesus the Christ.