Gift to the World

I can recall Christmas mornings as a child,
waking far too early with great excitement to
go into our den and see what it was that was
waiting for my siblings and me. Dad and mom
always sectioned off the den, creating a small
area for each of us. In that area some gifts
would be laid out lovingly, unwrapped and
shiny. It could be a new bike, or a stereo, or a
Mattel Hot Wheels Thundershift 500, like it
was for me one Christmas almost 50 years
ago. I remember vividly the joy of discovering
that I had been given what were for me at the
time amazing gifts.
What is the greatest gift that you have
ever been given? If we think about this in
material terms, we each likely have a story
about a moment in our past when someone
who loves us gave us something amazing.
Maybe we did not expect it. Or, maybe we
thought it was something that we would never
be able to get. Yet someone gave it to us, and
we were thrilled. Those stories and
reminiscences are a lot of fun.
If we think about this in more serious
terms, most if not all of us would surely
answer that the greatest gift we ever received
was “Jesus Christ,” and we would be correct.
Inarguably, the gift of salvation in Christ is far
and away the most precious gift possible. It is
literally priceless. What God has
accomplished through his Son is nothing
short of cosmic. It is a gift that Paul calls
“inexpressible,” which is the perfect way to
describe the gift of God in Jesus Christ.
Words fail to encompass fully the power and
value of the salvation that is freely available
through the sacrifice of Jesus.

In John 8:12, Jesus said to the
Pharisees, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in
darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Early in his gospel, John had already
described Jesus as “the light of men.”
Jesus is “the true light,” wrote John in 1:9,
“which gives light to everyone.” Jesus
came into the world to illuminate truth. He
came as a bright light bringing the ethics
and values of the kingdom of God. He
came filled with the light of salvation for
everyone who believes.
In Matthew 5:16, this same “light of the
world” told his followers, “You are the light
of the world.” In other words, Jesus for all
time bound his disciples—of every
generation—to the mission of God in the
world. Those who lay claim to Christ also
lay claim to the work of Christ. The lives of
Jesus followers are to be not only holy, but
also visible. Like a city that sits atop a hill,
our holy lives are to be lived openly and
unashamedly. And, like a lamp that shines
brightly on its stand, lighting the whole
house, our lives are to shine brilliantly in
our community.
We are vessels of the light of Christ. In
fact, just as God has given the world Jesus
Christ in order that the world may come to
him and be saved, God has also given us
as a gift to the world. As God said to his
early people through Isaiah, “I will make
you as a light for the nations, that my
salvation may reach to the end of the
earth” (49:6).
So, we live in holiness before the world.
In our homes, in our workplaces, and in
our communities, we reflect the light of
Christ. In so doing, the world will have
opportunity to know the greatest Gift ever

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