“[God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 1:3 (NIV UK)
When my children were younger, we would place an ornament on our tree every night until Christmas Eve. And as soon as the last one went up, my kids would tear into their presents. With each unwrapped gift, their smiles grew wider and wider, until finally—they would rush to my wife and me and shower us with hugs!
Giving and receiving gifts has always been a way of expressing our love for one another. And in the Bible we see God does the same thing. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11).
But Christmas wasn’t just about God giving us a “good gift”—Christ’s birth was the greatest gift ever! John wrote: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
Did you catch that phrasing? God loved us so much that he gave us a gift to bring us into communion with him.
But how does God want us to respond to this gift? I think the answer can be found in the concept of participation. Christ has drawn us out of darkness and into light. And through this relationship, a relationship with Christ, we are sanctified, transformed, becoming more like Christ. We know God is love, and his purpose is to perfect all things, so when we receive this gift, our natural response is to love others. 1 John 4:19 sums it up like this: “We love because he first loved us.”
Holy Father, thank you for your gifts to us—the greatest of all, of course, being your Son. Help us all year long not only to value that gift, but respond to that gift and give to others as you have given to us. In Jesus’ name.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.