The Best Gift
As you read this article, maybe you’ve already noticed the decor changing in your local stores. Tinsel, colored lights, and other festive signs of the approaching Christmas season are upon us. Lines are getting longer. Shelves are emptying and needing to be restocked, and folks are frantically running about trying to find that perfect gift for this year’s Christmas.
I enjoy this time of year. Of course, we understand the reason for this special time is the birth of Christ. Christmas is not about a chubby man with a white beard bearing gifts or the traditional decorations that clutter homes, but Jesus is, in fact, the reason for the season. It’s such a wonderful truth that God became flesh and dwelt among men! Jesus, the very Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, arrived via a manger. He lived a sinless life and died the sinner’s death upon the cross. He was buried, but He rose again from the dead! Jesus paid it all!
God gave the best gift when God sent Jesus. When we think of Christmas, we do think about the presents we will give and receive. Many folks miss the enjoyment of the season because of their nervous obsession with finding just the right gift for a certain individual.
I have received many good gifts throughout my lifetime of Christmases. Many of those are still with me today. I could run a list of good gifts that I have been given. It would be lengthy. However, if I were to list the best gift, that list would be short. In fact, outside of Christ, that list would only include one thing. It wasn’t a gift wrapped in paper or tied with a bow. It wasn’t purchased at a store or sent through the mail. It wasn’t tagged with my name, but it was no doubt the best gift I have been given at Christmas time.
“What was it?” you may be wondering. The best gift I have been given was a gift I did not appreciate at first, but it has made a lasting impact on my life. The best gift of my many Christmases was the gift of my grandfather gathering our family together and reading the Christmas story to all of us from the Bible. It drove us crazy as kids. We were anxious to get into the presents, but as an adult and – more than that – as a preacher, I can say I thank the Lord for that gift He gave our family.
I can still hear his voice and see his hands as my grandfather would hold his well-worn King James Bible in his hands, bow his head in reverent prayer, and then begin to read to us from Luke chapter 2. He made sure that we understood that there was more to Christmas than the food or the fun or the material things we would receive. He exalted Christ and made sure his family understood the importance of that first Christmas. It didn’t cost any money. It wasn’t pictured in a magazine. It wasn’t something that others were lined up to get their hands on; but to me, that was the most precious thing that could’ve been given.
Now, my grandfather is in heaven. He celebrates Christmas and every day with the Jesus he loved and preached to us and others about, but I am grateful for the lasting influence and the priceless memories that I have of him reading the Christmas story to us. We still gather as a family today and read from the same text and the same Bible. The best gift has lasted. It didn’t break. We didn’t outgrow it. It’s still impacting our lives today.
I want to challenge all of our readers: give the best gift this year. Get your family together. Grab your Bible and read through the inspired record of Jesus’ birth! If the Lord doesn’t return first and death comes to us, one day, maybe your family and mine will gather together much like my family does now, and thank the Lord that one day we gave them the best gift of all.
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Justin Cooper, Assistant Pastor
Since 2006, Pastor Cooper has served as an evangelist and as a pastor, traveling across the nation holding revival meetings and preaching in Bible conferences. Pastor Cooper moved to join our staff in 2019 and is building the Tabernacle Bible Class. He and his wife, Desarae, are an incredible blessing to both the college and church families. Pastor and Mrs. Cooper have one son, Lincoln.
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