What Does the Bible Say about Presents?
- Meg Bucher Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2017 13 Dec
The Father lavishly loves us, but is also wise to withhold what He knows we cannot handle. Guilt and shame over gift-giving attacks from unprejudiced angles, but never from His. The balance of our heart’s intention lies within the reason we give.
There is a crafty side of greed that subconsciously attempts to derail our God-placed desire to give generously. Human nature is bent towards sin, too, in need of constant refinement and redirection. Whether we are wealthy enough to spoil our loved ones, or lack the provision to gift at all, the seed of our generosity must be aligned with Scripture. We can experience a peace in giving and receiving when we understand where God’s Word weighs in.
Scholars are assured that “The Three Kings” were not kings; however, the lavishly expensive gifts they toted lead them to believe they were “wise” men. Stirred by a burning desire to worship the new King, they followed the star an extreme distance to pay homage. Proper placement of our generosity begins by honoring Christ.
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh“ (Matthew 2:11).
Recall the story of Jesus’ observation of rich people donating large amounts of money, in comparison to the two cents a widow threw in “…this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others,” Jesus responded in Mark 12:43. It’s not about the amount we give, but the heart we are giving from.
Presents vs. Presence
The compulsion to give comes from Christ, who gave His life for us. When a gift we have given is opened, it fills our hearts. It truly is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), when we understand why that rock-solid truth reigns true.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus came to fill us with the presence of God, something only He could accomplish because He is God! He physically ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, but He never left us. His Spirit resides in every Christ-led heart. Presents are OK to give and receive, as long as we are not aiming to fill a void that only Christ can fill.
“So as the Father has loved me, I have loved you” (John 15:9).
Jesus’ birth unlocked some of the mystery of who God is. Christ’s life on earth assures us of the Father’s love for us, including the incomprehensible love that led Him to the cross through betrayal and physical pain.
“Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).
Remain is a synonym for “abide,” derived from the original Greek text of this verse. Consider the love that Jesus created a way for us to receive. This Christmas, allow the overflow of the filling presence of Jesus’ residence in our hearts spill out into the gifts we wrap up to give away. We are not to reach for possessions to fill us, but we are commanded to live in Christ’s love.
Christians are spoiled with a love and a life that we are guaranteed not to fully comprehend this side of heaven, by a Father that promises to give us more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). When we give in abundance, let every ear that can hear know why.
Praise You for Christmas! Praise You, Jesus, for coming down to earth. You didn’t have to live in a sin-soaked world covered in human flesh. Thank You for rescuing us, and for making a way to the filling presence of the Father. Forgive us for attempting to fill our hearts and quench our desires with gifts, relationships, or self-made accomplishments. We know all good things come from You, and You are love. Guide us as we explore the roots of our generosity this Christmas season. Ground us in Your love as we give to our friends, children, churches, and beyond. Let every gift, costly or homemade, come from the place in our hearts that You reside. Heal our selfish nature, and remind us that shame and guilt for imperfection do not come from You. Keep our feet on the path of Your will, every step of the way towards eternity in heaven. May our lives be a reflection of Your abounding love and distinctive generosity.
In Jesus’ Name,
Photo credit: @JuliaSudnitskaya
Meg encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.