Accepting Free Gifts on Christmas

Growing up, there was a Christmas Eve tradition that I generated, somehow. At 7pm, the Christmas movie It’s A Wonderful Life would start on prime time television. Promptly at this time, I would “play Santa” and hand out gifts under the tree to be unwrapped. I always insisted that the order of opening presents would begin with Dad opening one present first. Then, Mom would open one. Then, I would open one of mine. Thus, the rotation of “you, Mom, me” would continue until the cornucopia of presents pouring out of the base of the Christmas tree would cease. For years, Dad would quote that one simplistic line at some point during the evening of Christmas Eve; “you, Mom, me.”

Now that I am older, I catch more life lessons from the movie than I ever thought I would. One moment in the movie really stands out. In the infamous Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey falls prey to deceitful treachery by old man Potter.

In Bob Beaudine’s book, The Power of Who, he recounts the story like this: “Facing bankruptcy and possible jail time for fraud, George immediately does what you or I would do. He goes to those who know him, who love and trust him. He turns to his friends, right? Wrong! Unaware who has stolen the money he goes to Mr. Potter for help! Isn’t it interesting that George seeks help from the one man guaranteed not to provide it?”

Readers, aren’t we all guilty of this? Instead of when we are struggling through the storms of life, on Christmas or not, we find ourselves on the receiving end of a parent or loved one asking the tough question for us to answer without pride dripping from our lips, “Why didn’t you just come to me?!”

I am not sure what season you are in currently, friends. If you are the one who can help your family or neighbors in need, or you are George Bailey at the town bar crying out a prayer of desperation, I want you to be assured that there is a greater gift that is free to you any time you are ready to accept it.

In Timothy Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavor, Keller writes about how the material world does matter and that the world God created was good. “According to the Bible, this world is a forerunner of the new heavens and new earth, which will be purified, restored, and enhanced…” “In Psalm 65: 9-10,…we find God cultivating the ground by watering it through the rain showers, and, through His Holy Spirit, ‘renewing the face of the ground’.”

David Guzik’s commentary on Blue Letter Bible describes this passage as the earth being blessed and grateful. “God cares for the earth and makes sure it has what it needs. He provides rivers of water and grain for the earth.”

Isaiah 55:10 speaks on this, as well. Israel is called to receive a gift it did not earn and can not pay back the debt. What is the gift I am speaking of? What is the analogy in Isaiah 55 referring to?

Mercy and grace from God.

We are all familiar with the story of the reason for the season. This Savior was born in the city of David. The child and family that the innkeeper did not make room for came to deliver us.

My prayer, readers, is that while you enjoy family time and gifts around the tree in your own “You, Mom, Me” fashion, may you know the peace of God’s mercy and His grace that are free gifts that will “renew the face” of your heart. Just as the earth God created is blessed and grateful, may you never be too prideful to reach out to loved ones that WILL help you in times of trouble, and may you envelope yourself in the assured gifts of grace and mercy supplied only by the True, Living, Savior of the world!

Love to you all,

YFB

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