Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Gift Enjoyed

One of my most heart-warming memories of Christmas when I was younger is the year I got the only item I wrote down on my Christmas list - a portable transistor radio!!

I was 11 years old and having grown up in a house that was always filled with music, this was the best thing I could have ever received. My mother loved music, so the radio was always on at our house. I grew up listening to the Andrew Sisters, Perry Como, Dean Martin, the Big Band Sound, Theresa Brewer, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sal Mineo, Johnny Mathis, Elvis Presley, all those big names from the 40s and 50s.

But the year I turned 11, Ricky Nelson was IT. Previously, I had gotten a record-player and his record was the first one I played. It's a wonder I didn't wear it out. I played it over and over and over and over and over...likely drove my parents nuts!

But the portable radio - what avenues that opened. I could take it everywhere and anywhere with me and listen to all my favorite songs. In fact, I even took it to bed with me that Christmas night!!

But even more than the novelty of the radio and the music I could listen to, that radio represented something even more precious to me - the love of my parents. In my 11-yr old mind, the fact that they gifted me with something I truly wanted proved that they really loved me.

How often do we associate those two things - gifts and love. We often judge another's love for us based on the gift they give or how much it cost, or even how many gifts we're given.. How often do we show our love through the gifts we give? On some level, there is nothing wrong with that. I think it's an automatic outgrow of our love for someone that we want to give to them, whether it be tangible gifts or intangible gifts - like the gift of our time.

This innate desire in us is, I believe, a reflection of the character of our Father. For He "so loved" that "He gave." And what He gave was a person and the one most precious to Him, His Son.

No one has ever sacrificed as much to give a gift to someone they loved! This, without a doubt, is The Greatest Gift that could ever be given.

It's easy this time of year to get caught up in the monetary gifts we give and are given, while neglecting this Greatest Gift. I think especially for us who are Christians, sometimes we take for granted this gift and we also take for granted how much it "cost" the Lord to give us this gift.

This portable radio that I was given so many years ago meant so much to me that I took it to bed with me and slept with it!! I was not letting it out of my sight! I enjoyed it tremendously day after day after day!

How much more precious this gift of Jesus is! The radio eventually died and became obsolete, but I enjoyed it every day until it did. This gift of the One who died and rose again never becomes obsolete and we can enjoy Him day after day after day on into infinity.....

"Christmas means: the infinitely self-sufficient God has come not to be assisted but to be enjoyed."
John Piper in The Dawning of Indestructible JOY

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