At our house on Christmas morning, the potential for chaos has always hung over our heads. With ten people opening gifts, and we love gifts, we have to maintain a sense of order. One simple rule is that you have to be sure the gift is for you before you open it. In those rare times when the rule has accidentally been broken, someone is disappointed.
So how do you know this gift is for you? Well, in our situation, the whole thing hinges on who the gift is from. You and I have received this amazing gift because of the relationship we have with Jesus. When you came to the Lord for salvation and expressed your need and the tiny spark of faith the Spirit had brought to life in your heart, God came to you and loved you in the Person of Jesus Christ. At that moment, Jesus gave you His life. Your old life died and His life rose in you.
I realize there is a lot of theology in that simple paragraph. The point is that whatever God wants to give you comes because you are in Christ and Christ is in you. The gift is yours only through Jesus and the gift is yours because of Jesus. Call it “union” or “the exchange” or the “higher life” or whatever you want, but the life in you is His.
In fact, the real gift is Jesus Himself! We who were enemies have now been reconciled (Col 1:21). We who were lost have been found (Luke 15:32). We who were dead have been given life (Col 2:13). All of this has come to us packaged in a Person!
God’s grace, which is the substance of His giving to us, is manifested perfectly and completely in Jesus. Jesus is God Himself, come to us in human flesh, to be our life and fill us forever with His love. That’s what God has given us!
So the package we are going to unpack is filled with the blessings that are ours because of the relationship we have with Jesus. In all honesty, I can’t imagine that we will ever begin to see or to understand much more than the things that lie on top of the box. Eternity will be occupied with discovering the riches we have in Christ (Eph 2:7).
But what we find will be enough for us to be filled with wonder at His power and His love.
And remember: these are gifts, not things you and I earn. These are the things that came to us when Christ came to us. They are ours by inheritance, by marriage, by union, by blood. The Scripture uses all kinds of great illustrations of the relationship we have with God in Jesus. But my point is that these gifts are ours as gifts. We didn’t earn them or deserve them, just like we didn’t earn or deserve our relationship with Jesus. He came to us because He loved us—and He came bearing gifts!