Monday, December 17, 2018

Share the Gifts

Submitted by Lara Cook
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
During the Christmas season we hear many of the same words used every year - words like, hope peace, joy, and love.  Those are special gifts brought to us through that tiny baby laid in a manger, but there are many other gifts that came from the manger that first Christmas as well. Some of the other gifts of the manger are mercy, grace, acceptance, and forgiveness.
The Gift of Mercy– Mercy – compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  God has every right and power togive us the punishment we deserve, but because of the gift of God given through Jesus’ birth, we have been delivered from that judgement.  We are all sinners and will never become righteous people. But because of Jesus, and our acceptance of Him, He has provided a way for our sins to be forgiven.  Grace and Mercy are shown to us for nothing in exchange but acceptance of Jesus as our Savior.  
The Gift of GraceGrace – the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.  The free and unmerited favor of God– there are no more beautiful words ever spoken to a sinner.  When Jesus came, He brought grace, and enough for everyone, for their whole lives.  In fact, He brought enough grace for us to have plenty and more to pass on. God has grace on us when we don’t deserve it.  He can do that because Jesus was born, and died, to pay the debt for us, bringing the grace of God to us.  
The Gift of Acceptance– Tiny baby in a manger – the Savior of the world – the wholeworld.  No matter how broken and wrecked, no matter how sinful and low, He came for you.  All are welcome. All are loved the same.  All get an audience with this King.  All are given the same gifts - Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, Salvation, Eternal Life, and plenty to give away as well.  
The Gift of Forgiveness– The birth of Jesus, His life on earth, and His death on the cross, made forgiveness of our sins possible.  He paid the debt for us on the cross so that we could be debt free. When we accept the greatest gift of the manger – Jesus, we are given forgiveness of sins, which makes it possible to have a relationship with Him and with others.  The forgiveness of our sins then leads to salvation and eternal life.  
Share the Gifts-These gifts that we receive from the manger are not gifts for us to keep to ourselves.  Take the gifts given and pass them on. We have been given mercy and grace when we are so undeserving.  We have been accepted and forgiven.  Who do you need to give some mercy and grace to?  Look around you – bring the outsider in and give them the gift of acceptance. And then, forgiveness…is there someone you need to forgive?  
Come to the manger this Christmas.  Look into His face and inhale the holiness of this season.  The absolute sacredness of this time of year is there for you to find it. It is more than decorations and a tree. It is the baby in the manger. Take in the beautiful gifts that the manger offers.  Then go and give as you have been given.  

Scripture to Claim: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display Him immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:15-17

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