Thursday, December 18, 2014

Long Journey Part of Gift

My birthday is in early December. One year, I told my husband I really wanted a pink poinsettia, which I knew would be a challenge for him. That was not the kind of shopping he felt comfortable doing. On my birthday he presented me with a lovely poinsettia. He had braved his own discomfort to obtain just what I wanted--because he loved me.

His gift reminded me of a story I heard about a young African boy who, after learning that Christians give presents to each other as an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship with each other, wanted to give his teacher a special Christmas gift. On Christmas Day, he brought her a rare seashell of lustrous beauty.

"Where did you find such a beautiful shell?" she asked.

"There is only one spot where such shells can be found--on the shores of a bay several miles away," he answered.

"It's gorgeous," his teacher said, "but you shouldn't have gone all that way to get a gift for me."

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, "Long walk part of gift."

And that is what makes the birth of God's only Son in a stable in Bethlehem so precious--great sacrifice was part of the Gift. Jesus set aside the majesty and splendor of heaven to become a tiny, helpless baby so He could grow up, experience the human condition, yet live without sin, and die that we might have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

He was born to die. The long journey was part of the Gift.

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