Sunday, December 23, 2007

God's Stocking Stuffers

Well, it’s Christmas time and if you are reading this you are aware that Jesus is the reason for the season. There is a propensity for many Christians to get radical in their fight against rampant commercialization and Santa worship. And that is a good thing. Jesus is truly the reason for the season. And there could be no better gift to mankind than the Messiah.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (King James Version)

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (King James Version)

Like all Christmas celebrations with the family, there is usually a gift given that is exactly what the receiver wanted or desperately needed. There was one Christmas where I gave my daughter a new Ford Focus. She had been driving a piece of junk Kia Sephia without complaining. And she lit up like a well adorned tree when she saw the car. Years later she still talks about how great that Christmas was. But something else happened that day. She looked in her stocking to receive many smaller gifts that were also well pleasing and much needed. They are called stocking stuffers, and we love getting them. I love getting Red Hots candy in mine. The small stuff is just the icing on the happiness cake.

God gives us stocking stuffers. The big gift is Jesus. The smaller gifts are also a sign of his great love and generosity towards us. And they are the icing on our spiritual cake.
“Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” James 1:17 (The Message)
How about the gift of work? If you have a good paying job, a career that you love, and lots of stuff, that is nothing but a pleasurable stocking stuffer from the Lord. His provision for us usually comes in the form of labor that helps us survive.
“That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:13 (New International Version)

“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19 (New International Version)
How about the gift of the comforter? Jesus called the Holy Spirit the comforter. And the gifts that the Spirit brings with Him are amazing.
“Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 (New International Version)

And the Holy Spirit continues the Yuletide tradition by putting his own gifts into your stocking. There was an old story about getting a lump of coal in their stocking if a person was bad. We have all been bad, but the stocking is always full of goodies for us to play with.
“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28 (New King James Version)
How about wisdom? Ever need direction or guidance in your life? Those are also gifts we can find in our Christmas stocking if we need them. If you lack in those areas then maybe you didn’t put it on your Christmas list.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (New International Version)

So if you find that you were Scrooged this year, maybe it is time to do a personal inventory of your spiritual condition. God fills all the stockings of His children with yummy spiritual stuff. But like Santa, He knows who has been naughty or nice. He is making a list and checking it twice. Hit your knees, and ask. Maybe you will find that this will be your best Christmas ever!

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (New Living Translation)

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