"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)
One thing I am not good at is wrapping presents. No matter how hard I try or how much time I take, wrapping is not one of my artistic gifts. I am amazed at how the Gift wrappers at Macy's can wrap a gift with such precision and technique at lightning speed. There is one gift giver that is unmatched in his wrapping ability and creativity. That person is our Heavenly Father. He not only gave us the greatest gift of all time, he wrapped it with such care, attention and creativity that no other gift can ever match it. Wrapped up in the gift of his Son, Jesus, we find an unexpected triple surprise. Philippians 2:6-11 shows us the three gifts Jesus gave to us as he gave himself.
Gift #1 - The One who had everything gave up everything for us.
He emptied himself for us. Dying on the cross wasn't the first sacrifice he made for us. He sacrificed everything so that he could take on flesh to become Emmanuel--God with us. He left his place of glory to bring the glory of the Father down to us. I love how Dick Foth says, "He left his place to come to our place to take our place so that we could go to his place."
Gift #2 - The One who was the highest became the lowest for us.
Not only did he empty himself, he humbled himself for us. The greatest person in the universe chose to become the lowest and took on flesh as a newborn. He could have taken the form of a full-grown man but he took on the form of a fetus and went through the birthing process. He did it the hard way for you and me when he didn't have to.
Gift #3 - The One to whom every knee will bow, bowed before us.
He lowered himself for us. When in the presence of a King, it is proper etiquette to never allow yourself to be higher than the king. But the King of kings lowered himself before his subjects in the greatest act of humility. This became the hallmark of our Messiah. Not only did he lower himself at his birth, he lowered himself by dying for us on the cross.
What an awesome gift that the Father gave to us in his Son, Jesus. Who could have guessed that the little child wrapped up in swaddling clothes contained so much for us. The Father gave his only Son who then gave himself for you and me. The greatest way we can honor God's amazing gift to us is to give back to him the gift of ourselves this Christmas. Ask yourself these questions as you prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth: What do I need to empty myself of for him? How can I humble myself before the King today? How can I lower myself and better serve not only God, but others around me? By emptying, humbling and lowering ourselves this Christmas season we can give God the greatest gift we can give--the gift of ourselves.
Merry Christmas and may you be filled with tidings of great joy this holiday season!
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