At this time of year even we Christians, who know that the reason we celebrate Christmas is to acknowledge the birth of the Jewish Messiah and our Savior, get caught up in shopping and buying gifts for friends and loved ones as or a visible show of our love. The gifts we give, while given sincerely are rarely sacrifices for us. We’ll charge the purchase to our credit cards, create new installment loans, borrow from friends and family so that the cost of the gift really isn’t a big sacrifice at the time.
I recommend that you read the short story “Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry for a beautiful picture of sacrificial giving at Christmas. It’s the story of a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.
In summary , as Christmas approaches, Jim and Della don’t have much money for bills, much less gifts. Jim has a gold pocket watch that was once his dad’s, Della has long, beautiful hair, and they both have an idea! Della cuts her hair and sells it so she can buy Jim a chain for his watch. Jim sells his watch in order to purchase some nice combs for his wife’s lovely hair.
Although Jim and Della are now left with gifts that neither one can use, they realize how far they are willing to go to show their love for each other, and how priceless their love really is.
The story ends with the narrator comparing the pair's mutually sacrificial gifts of love with those of the Biblical Magi.
Both Jim and Della gave up their most prized possession for each other. What a precious picture of one human being’s sacrificial love for another!
God gave His Son so that His Son could then give His life to save mankind from the penalty of sin which is death.
John 3:16 (NLT)16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 6:23 (NLT)23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Think about it. If you were asked to give your child as a sacrifice to anybody for anything would you do it? Well God did.
The Greatest Sacrifice
The cross is the ultimate picture of Jesus’ profound, sacrificial, and life-giving love for us sinful human beings.
1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
John 15:13 (NLT)13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
1 John 3:16 (NLT)16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Think back over your life. What sacrifices have you made to show God your great love for Him?
What opportunity do you have this week to show your heavenly Father that you love Him? Put that love into action and ask God to teach you how to better love Him with all your heart, soul, and strength.
By Rick Warren
The greatest gift you’ve ever been given wasn’t bought in a store. No cash exchanged hands. It wasn’t even wrapped.
Yet it cost the Giver everything.
The Bible says God sent his Son to Earth to give you the greatest gift ever. He came to Earth to die and make you right with God. Romans 3:24-25 says, “Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin” (The Message).
Will you accept God’s free gift of salvation? It’s one thing to understand the basics of how to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s another to accept the gift.
I pray you will make that all-important decision today. Here is a prayer you can pray:
“Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you were with me even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me, that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me.
“Today I want to receive the Christmas gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. Save me from myself.
“I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you made me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you.
~Excerpts from The Greatest Gift Cost the Giver Everything - Daily Hope with Rick Warren - December 23, 2017