There once lived a man who had a sour disposition concerning everything about life. I met this person when he was old, and thought he was probably just miserable because he was at the end of his life. I learned, however, that he had always been crotchety and mean to his wife, children, and family. My first exposure to him was at Christmas when the family gathered to celebrate that wonderful time of the year.
There was much excitement as the children and older folk went to the living room to exchange gifts for that year. The old man (Grandpa to some of the kids there) sat in the easy chair and waited. Gifts were distributed, and people tore into their presents to see what they had gotten. Oooh’s and ahhh’s were heard from all around. But, not from Grandpa! He let each present lie right where it was and never even picked one up. He never said thank you to the person giving the gift. He never opened the boxes wrapped in such pretty paper. I thought that quite odd and wondered how he could not accept his gifts. How could he just reject the gift which meant he rejected the person giving the gift? How could he just not care at all about the gift or the giver?
Years later, the old man died. In his bedroom closet, on the top two shelves were unopened presents wrapped in pretty paper. In those boxes were shirts, ties, socks... simple gestures of love from someone. The foolish old man died never knowing what he missed by not opening and enjoying his gifts.
At Christmas, this story reminds me of another Gift that has been given. God has given his only Son as a gift because he loves us so much. Jesus is a gift to you and to me. How wonderful it is to receive this special gift, to open it up, to enjoy it everyday for the rest of your life. How loved we feel as we read the Bible, God’s love letter to you and to me. How special it is to go to him in prayer and to tell him things and to ask him what to do about our daily problems.
How sad it is to know that there are many like the foolish, old man. They never unwrap and enjoy the gift. They reject the Gift and the Giver. They know “about” Jesus, but never get to intimately know him. The love letter from God sits on the table and they never read the wonderful words of life written there. The best Gift we can ever receive is the Gift offered to us through Jesus Christ. It is the gift that keeps on giving as we will continue to enjoy it throughout eternity.