Thanks to the commercialization of Christmas and the ever-growing competition by merchants and advertisers to whet our appetites for the latest technology gadgets, coolest fashions, and hottest toys, our children make their wish lists weeks before the holidays and pad them with more expensive gifts than we can possibly afford. The season of giving has become a season of getting for many, and the joy and wonder of Christmas are replaced with stress and worry about how we are going to pay for it all.
Christmas was once a time when thoughts of peace on earth and goodwill to men were ideals that were considered precious, ones which we strived to embrace all year long. But more often than not we make Christmas—and all of life—about ourselves and our wants, not what we can offer to others to foster a more peaceful and meaningful existence.
On the first Christmas, God sent His only Son to live among us. He himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), yet because many of us have not received the gift of salvation that Christ offers, we do not know what it means to have peace with others or ourselves. Christ was God’s greatest gift to mankind, but many have not unwrapped the gift of salvation and therefore cannot possibly know the true joy and peace that come from an intimate relationship with the One whose birth we celebrate this time of year.
The best gift of all is not the car in the garage, the new computer in the family room, or the diamond engagement ring symbolizing the love and commitment between a man and woman, but rather the Babe in the manger whose birth the very angels in heaven celebrated on that first Christmas night. As we consider the gifts we will give others this year, why not give God the very best gift of all – our surrendered hearts and lives? Guaranteed to bring a smile to His face, it is the one gift God will never return for a refund.