In his book, God So Loved, He Gave, Kelly M. Kapic describes two of the different reasons we give gifts. First, we give gifts “to celebrate an achievement or to mark a joyous occasion” (birthday, graduation, anniversary, etc.). Second, we give gifts “after a misdeed, as when a man sends flowers to a woman as a peace offering for some failing on his part” (p. 69).
However, while this is true of our giving, it cannot be said of God. God did not mess up, drop the ball, or sin so that he gave us his Son, Jesus, as a way to right his wrongs. And we, as a people rebellious to his will, never did anything worthy of celebration so that we moved God to love us by sending his Son. No, God gave us Jesus for salvation because it simply pleased him to do so. God’s love is self-generating; he doesn’t require anyone or anything outside of himself to incite him to love. God loves because he is love (1 John 4:8). This means that, initially, God’s love is completely one-sided: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). There is no one in this world who gives without any outside coercion, this is why Jesus, God’s gift of supreme love, should dominate our celebration this Christmas season.
There is so much giving going on during the Christmas season in our culture and in our homes: The Salvation Army is in front of your grocery store, your Church is collecting for missionaries or children overseas, you’re buying gifts for family and friends, and you’ll be receiving gifts in like manner. All of this should serve as a catalyst for us to worship God and proclaim him to each other in light of his one-sided love that led him to give us Christ. My prayer for the readers of this blog, is that you will take the time this Christmas to talk with your family and friends about the glorious differences between our giving and God’s, so that his giving leads you to give more and give with a heart ignited by passionate thankfulness!