OPENING THE GIFT OF JESUS
by John S. Barnett
Peeling Away the Layers
With outstretched hands, the gift is presented — just as “the good news” of the gospel has been tendered for two millennia by followers of Christ. “Go ahead, open it,” encourages the giver. But the recipient may hesitate or think: “Hmm? Do I believe them? Do they really know me well enough to know that I need this so-called wonderful thing? …Whatever-It-is. And, I wonder what sorts of strings are attached.”
But, hopefully — eventually — with sincere gratitude and in faith (perhaps provoked by old-fashioned curiosity), you accept. You take hold of the gift in your hands, shake it a bit and ponder the mystery of it. You peel away the layers — detaching the bow, untying the ribbon, removing the wrapping paper. You open the box and, digging deeper, you fold back the tissue. Voila, you see the gift, understand where the gift-giver was coming from, and rejoice with them in that.
People can and do sometimes let us down, with “inspired” gifts the likes of fruitcake. And, of course, even the greatest gift on Earth cannot ultimately satisfy or endure. Any possession can be stripped away from us by death, disease or disaster.
Luckily, by contrast, the beauty of the gift of Jesus is that it’s assured to be the perfect size, style and durability to help you take on the exact physical, emotional or spiritual challenges you might face. It’s a custom fit in the truest sense.