Giving and receiving gifts is an often mentioned subject at this time of year. Most of us have probably had a good deal of experience in this area. Receiving gifts from others brings great joy and giving gifts to others brings even more. Gifts are awesome, but what about the gifts that are never opened?
Imagine parents who carefully search for the perfect Christmas presents to give to their children. After long hours of shopping and almost painful anticipation, the time has finally come. They excitedly wrap the gifts and place them by the tree on Christmas Eve while the children are sleeping. When the children awake in the morning, they stumble into the living room to see the beautiful site. There are presents for everyone! The wrapping is so beautiful and the children know that their parents got them the most amazing gifts. Each package has a name written on it so there's no doubt who they are for. The parents come in and can hardly contain themselves as they wait for the children to dig in. Then, to the parent's surprise and dismay, the children lower their heads and walk away without ever unwrapping one single gift. Upon questioning them as to why they didn't open the gifts, the children answered:
What started out as something beautiful and heart-warming quickly turned dismal.
This was just an illustration, but the sad reality is that there is a very special, life-changing gift that very often goes unopened. That gift is God's mercy. He offers it to all mankind so that we will not be consumed by our sins. It's not based on how "good" we are, but He freely gives us mercy because of His incomprehensible love for us.
Many will not accept this gift because they don't feel like they deserve it. Others have been so jaded by life's disappointments that they can hardly believe that anything good can ever come to them. Then there are those who feel like they've exhausted all the resources of God by their repeated failures. Don't let these, or any other thoughts keep you from opening the gift of mercy.
Whether you have been a Christian for many years or whether you've never accepted Jesus, you need mercy. If you don't feel like you deserve it, you're right. That's what is so amazing about this gift. You didn't do anything to earn it and you couldn't if you tried. If you don't understand how God could love you as much as He does in spite of all you have done, join the club. I can't fully explain or understand God's love and mercy, I just know that it's real and it has changed my life and it's available to you. If you feel like you've already received your share of mercy and feel selfish to keep asking for it, refer to the scriptures above. His mercies and compassions never fail and are new every morning. They never run out!
It would be a terrible tragedy for you to be consumed by the guilt and shame of your sins when the solution is right in front of you. It's beautifully wrapped in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and it has your name written on it. Don't let this precious gift go unopened. Come to Jesus today, ask forgiveness and open this wonderful gift of mercy.
Patrick A. Thomson
We have just entered into the blur.
It is the time from the beginning of November until after the beginning of the new year. There are so many things to do and be involved in, and we will be reacquainting ourselves with so many family and friends that we haven’t seen in so long. There will be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow (that just came to me). With everything we know that will happen, there are always those extra lovely things that creep into the schedule at the last minute, and they will add to the blur.
It really is “the most wonderful time of the year”, but it can also be a dangerous time of the year. We can get so caught up in everything that we miss it all and then around January 2nd we might be wondering where the time all went. It’s dangerous and sad to get caught in the blur.
Let me give you some tips of how you can know if your’e getting sucked in:
Let me remind you of some of the scripture texts that are closely associated with this time of the year, so we won’t get caught in the blur:
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Take a lot of time to give thanks and even more time giving peace and good will toward men, and you won’t get caught in the blur.
May God Richly Bless You and Yours,