Parson to Person: The best of the best
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The stores are filling with busy shoppers, hurriedly searching for the best gift for each of the loved ones on their Christmas lists. I love giving gifts at this time of the year! I love shopping all year for the best bargains on the gifts that I believe will mean the most for the people whom I love! Even though I thoroughly enjoy this gift-giving season, I must also remind myself of the true best gift.
What has been the best gift that I have ever received from a person? I was pondering this question the other day and one popped into my mind immediately. Now, I have received many beautiful gifts over the years. However, the best one came from a little five-year-old boy for whom I provided childcare during my seminary studies in Virginia. This little boy struggled to connect emotionally and socially with others, but from the moment that we met, we understood each other. I cared very much for him. The first Christmas that we celebrated together, he gave me the best gift that I have ever received. After opening my other packages, he pulled out a crinkled and folded white envelope from his pocket. He said, “Here Tamara. I love you!” I read his handwriting on the front which said, “Love for Tamara.” He then said, “I blew 100 kisses into that envelope for you. You can open it when you need some love.” I have never thrown that envelope away.
When I think about this story, I am reminded of another little boy who truly is the best gift that any of us can ever receive. This baby boy was born in a lowly stable, swaddled in cloths and placed in an animal’s manger. This baby boy’s birth place was marked by a star so bright that it caught the attention of three astrologers who traveled for years to see this newborn king. This baby boy’s birth was announced with a host of heavenly angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” The shepherds who first heard this angelic proclamation rushed to see this marvelous gift because they knew that this baby boy was not any ordinary baby; He was God’s Son!
While we may have our lists full of people and gifts and while we may check these lists twice over the next few weeks, let us not forget the best gift. God’s love came to us, not in an envelope filled with 100 kisses, but through a baby wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger. This baby boy would grow up and show all people the way of God’s love. As we celebrate His birth this Christmas, let us also reach out to everyone around us with the best gift: the love of God.