An Advent reflection by Rev John and Anne Coles of New Wine.
The shops are full of gifts of all shapes and sizes, from marzipan delights to the latest in tech wizardry. Everything is now labelled the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. But the sad truth is that many of these gifts will prove to have limited appeal, and even more limited usefulness and lifespan.
In Romans 6:23, we read: ‘... the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ There is one gift that we can receive this Christmas from God our Father; one that will last for ever and ever, and the good news is that it is free.
That gift is his very son, Jesus Christ, and millions around the world and across the ages have received Jesus and found him to be the gift beyond price.
I think of the young boy who has recently joined our church community with his mum, abused and abandoned by her husband, and who whispered to her one night last week, ‘We haven’t got a dad, mum, but we do have Jesus!’ And the 92-year-old lady my husband and I visited recently, who was thanking Jesus for so many blessings of love in her long life.
Jesus is the life-transforming gift beyond words.
Across the globe, it’s the same story. As my husband John and I have travelled with Tearfund, we have experienced the joy of those who have received the gift of Jesus: visiting poor farmers on the mountains of Peru, or jammed into a hot, ramshackle church in Ethiopia, or a makeshift church on a mountainside in Nepal. The poor receive Jesus so gladly and joyfully.
The question is, will we receive Jesus with joy too, not just on the day of salvation, but every day, as we turn to him and centre our lives on him?
Father God, thank you for the free gift of your Son. Jesus, I love you and welcome you in my life today and every day – take me, mould me, shape me and make me into your messenger of peace and joy, so that others might know of your wonderful gift to us all. Amen.
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