when a rapper gets a shiny new tooth
(The following is an article I wrote that was in the Murphy Messenger.)
There are just a few shopping days left until Christmas, so I hope you’re on top of things.
Of course, “tis better to give than to receive,” but we will be receiving some things with varying degrees of joy. Some gifts we will really appreciate and others … uh, well, we say to ourselves, “It’s the thought that counts.” But, is it? Is it really the thought that counts?
Is it better to get a dynamite gift that didn’t require a great deal of thought? For example, a sizable gift card to your favorite store.
Or is it better to receive that thoughtful gift that doesn’t really jazz you? For example, that fruit cake that nobody will eat (no offense intended to my late Grandma Collins) or the Right Guard I got from my Great Aunt one year (was there a hidden message?).
There is a possibility, however, that we’ve created a false dichotomy. It is possible to have a gift which is the product of heartfelt thought but is also a great gift in and of itself.
This is seen in Christmas and the reason for the season. In giving Jesus to the world, God has expressed His love:
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Roman 5:8)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus was given as the only means of salvation from the penalty of our sin. We owed a debt we could not pay and Christ paid a debt He did not owe.
The reason we give gifts is because such a great gift was given to us. Our gifts will always pale in comparison with regard to heartfelt thought and intrinsic value, but as followers of Christ we love because He has loved us. We forgive because He has forgiven us.
Let me encourage you to show your appreciation for such a wonderful gift by selecting one of the churches advertised in this edition to participate in their Christmas services or any Sunday service. With “New Year’s Resolutions” right around the corner, put “finding a church home” on the list, but in the category of those you actually intend to keep.
(Here's are some suggested means of finding a good church.)
We don’t always have great joy when we write out the “Thank you” cards for the fruit cake or the deodorant, but there is much joy in gathering to celebrate the dear Savior’s birth.
“O Come, Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.”