The Three Unopened Gifts

After Christmas there were still three gifts left under our tree that hadn’t been disturbed. After our family left, all of the other gifts had been opened and the bright shiny wrappings had been thrown away, or put in storage, but these three gifts didn’t have any nametags on them, and they were left untouched. Oddly, nobody even asked about these gifts. They didn’t question who they were intended for. I suppose they thought they were gifts that my husband, Jonathan and I had bought for each other, and would open later, privately. But Jonathan and I didn’t need them; we already had them. We knew who they were for and what they represented, so they sat there under the tree, as a reminder.

3 gifts

You see, I put these gifts under the tree because I wanted them there as a reminder of what Christmas is truly about. It isn’t about presents, at least in a material sense, but it is about gifts, gifts that can only be given from a pure heart. If you were to open these boxes, you wouldn’t find anything inside… they’re empty. But they each represent a deeper meaning. They represent what Christ came to the earth to share with us, something that cannot be bought with money or credit.

The red box represents Love, it was the love of God to redeem man, that sent us a Savior (red = the blood of Jesus) in the form of Jesus Christ. This love is unlike anything or any love that man can offer. “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” 1 John 4:12-16 NLT “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 NLT

The silver box represents Peace. This does not mean we won’t have problems as we live out our lives, but we can know that God is for us and will be there for us to help us. Jesus told us that he gave us the gift of peace the world cannot give. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT

The last gift, with the wild bow, is the gift of JOY! No matter what we face in this life, no matter what we are going through, we can have joy! This doesn’t mean we have to En-joy whatever it is, but we can still ‘Have’ Joy! That joy comes from the Holy Spirit within us. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22-23 NLT The Joy of the Lord is our Strength to get us through every day of our life.

These three gifts are available to everyone! That is why there aren’t any nametags. I offer these gifts to you today. They are free for the taking. All you have to do to receive them is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It’s that simple. Just tell him that you are willing to put your life in His hands and trust him to make your life new.

You can pray this prayer: Father, I know I have sinned, but I want to put that life behind me. Please forgive me for my sins. I accept Christ as my Savior and I believe he died for my sins. Help me to do your will for my life. Help me to experience your love, peace, and joy. Thank you. Amen. 

Dignity and Joy

Every time I go to a new doctor, such as a specialist, I have to go through my medical history, which is rather lengthy. Because some of the history requires explanation, personal history also has to be divulged. It leaves me feeling rather ‘exposed’ in more ways than one… Afterwards, the nurse and the doctor make comments that I have been through a tumultuous series of events in my lifetime. (I am not disclosing everything in this story because some of it is deeply personal.) After nine surgeries, an inoperable brain tumor, a near fatal car accident, failed marriages, and many other catastrophes, I suppose I have, but I don’t look at it that way. To me those things are my past, those are things I’ve survived. I see that I am here, I am alive and I am loved

As I drove home today, I thought about the reactions I have received over the years, the all too familiar ones, time after time, to my life history. But that is the key – it IS history. And that’s where it should stay – in the archives… only to be brought out when needed for medical examination, not for emotional rumination! Chewing the cud is only beneficial to the cow (a ruminant). 

Today, when the nurse finished with all the questions, she looked at me and shook her head. I wasn’t asking for her pity, I was only answering the questions. I don’t need pity. She said the all-familiar phrase, in her words. “You have really been through so much in your life!” I looked at her, smiled, and gently said “Yes, I have, and God is good! He has brought me through it all! I couldn’t have gone through it without him. I am here and I’m sane and I know I have a purpose in my life. It’s funny when I look back, it’s hard to believe I went through all of that, because I don’t think about it until I have to recount it to a new doctor, then I put it away again, in the past. I focus on today.” She just shook her head again and said “Wow!” then left the room.

Yes, there have been things that could have taken away my dignity. There have been times I have lost family members for lengths of time. I have lost friends over lies that have been told about me. I have lost tens of thousands of dollars because of people I’ve been involved with… I’m not discussing details, Thank you. I don’t hold those things against any of them. I pray they come to know God and the truth. But I made it through by the grace of God and the mercy of friends and family. Any of these circumstances could have stolen my dignity or my joy. But, I would have had to allow my dignity and my joy to be stolen. The only way our dignity or our joy can be taken from us, is that we allow it to happen. I plan to hold on to both and I urge you to do the same!

Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music. Psalm 27:6
(my emphasis)