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The season for giving

Our church had a giveaway of “gently used” toys today.  Last night I went back to the room where they were laid out on rows and rows of tables.  I thought about all of the hands that had touched the toys.  The first hands would be the people who were involved in making them.  Then there would be the hands that packed and shipped them, the retailers that put them on shelves in their stores, and the people who originally purchased them. It was those people who were special because they made the decision not to try to resell the toys at a future yard sale, but gave them to us to give to others.  What happened in their hearts transformed the toys into gifts.   

These gifts were then touched by our hands and put out on the tables.  Today they were received by the hands and hearts of people (parents), who are going to place them in their children’s’ hands in just a few days.  It’s obvious that a lot of hands and a few hearts have been involved with these gifts reaching their ultimate destination on Christmas morning.

As I reflect upon all of this, it’s hard not to think of another pair of hands --- those of Christ.  They were pierced on our behalf.  But Jesus didn’t just die an ordinary death --- His death was a sacrifice.  In John 10:17-18, He’s unequivocal in regard to the fact that His life won’t taken by the Romans, the Jews, or anyone --- it will be given by Him.  He lays down His life because He is the Good Shepherd.  His heart transforms His death into a gift. 

Over the centuries, countless hands have “touched” this gift and countless hearts have been transformed by it.  But it doesn’t stop there --- or at least, it’s not meant to.  Our hands and hearts are meant not just to receive Jesus, but to pass Him on to others.  This can be thrillingly easy (as in sharing Christ with your children), or excruciatingly difficult --- as when we reach out to someone who has little taste for the truth.  Nevertheless, God’s gift to us is Jesus and our gift to Him is what we do with Him. May our hearts be transformed so that the Christ in us will become someone else’s gift. 

It’s always the season for giving because our Father is also ready to be forgiving. 
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