Once upon a time there was an old man who was offered a gift.
The old man had gone to his doctor for a health checkup.
His doctor had raved about the old man’s weight loss…..and rightly so for the old man had shed thirty-five pounds.
The doctor, however, was concerned about the old man’s lack of activity. The pre-visit blood test had revealed this deficiency.
What to do?
The pro-active physician had a solution: He offered the old man a gift.
The gift was a free membership to a health club located within two miles of where the old man lived.
The gift offer was written on an official-looking document signed by the doctor and safely tucked inside an envelope with the old man’s name on it.
The old man thanked the doctor and went home excited about the gift offer. “I’ll go to the fitness center,” he thought, “activate the membership, and move on to better health.”
But the old man never went to the nearby fitness center to activate the gift offer.
The old man began to think that the treadmill in his basement might be an easier option for the exercise he needed.
The old man began to think that walking the sidewalk on the street in front of his house would be an easier option because he would be closer to home.
The old man “thought” his way out of activating the gift offer. An offer that was free. An offer from someone who knew his health better than he did.
Yet how many do the same when it comes to Christmas?
We immerse ourselves in the gifts given and the gifts received.
We achieve various degrees of excitement over the day itself.
And yet what about the ultimate gift offer?
Is it that hidden card, lost in the branches of the Christmas tree?
Is it the one we forget is there until someone finds it late in the gift-opening frenzy?
George Washington and Martin Luther King have earned birthday celebrations. But it isn’t because of their births that we honor them. It is because of what they did during their lives that makes them memorable.
No question that Jesus had a remarkable birth but that isn’t the cause for celebration. Instead, it is what He did during His life that should be celebrated.
Jesus put a gift offer together that is beyond any other. He offers everyone the real Ultimate Gift.
What is it?
Jesus offers us a free pass to an after-life with Him.
The hard truth is that there is no other way to an after-life with Him.
We deserve an after-life separation from God because we have done wrong. He is perfect, and we aren’t.
We have all disobeyed Him. We’re all in this together as sinners!
One sin makes us a sinner as surely as thousands of them do. It isn’t a balancing act: my good deeds will never outweigh my bad ones. My destiny is certain.
But then comes the gift offer.
For some unfathomable reason, God sent Jesus to earth to live among us and later to die a death we deserved.
Jesus took our place. Took the punishment our sins warranted so that we wouldn’t get what we deserved. That is the ultimate gift!
And yet this remains a gift offer. Just as that fitness center membership remains a gift offer.
In order for that fitness-center membership to be worth anything, the old man needs to go to that fitness center and activate the membership.
The same is true of the gift offer of God. Until I recognize my need for that offer, and tell Him that I receive it, it WILL NOT be activated. What a shame for that to happen!
Have you received His gift? Certainly a cause for Christmas celebration.
Is God’s gift offer still in the envelope with your name on it? Great time to open it and activate it.