Unopened Gifts Under the Tree

Have you ever looked under the tree and wished for just one more gift?  Did you ever find one and reach for it only to find it wasn’t for you after all? Did you ever find a gift under the tree that wasn’t labeled and wonder who it was for? You pick it up…shake it…seeing if that would jog your memory. Furthermore, did you ever open a gift with your name and think this certainly can’t be for me…it must be some kind of mistake! Then breathe a depressing sigh…and look one more time for a gift you wanted? You don’t want to appear greedy or unappreciative but… 

What about unopened gifts under the tree? Gifts you think might be for someone but forget who or just simply don’t know whose they are…even peeking you unwrap a slight bit to see…nope can’t be for me…I wouldn’t ask for that…wrong size…wrong color…just not my style…must be for someone else…so we slip it back under the tree until we figure who it is for. Maybe you’ve even opened it and asked with a distraught puzzled look asking with faux happy excited quivery voice, “Is this for…uh…me?”  We’ve had that happen and often with no resolve the wrapped gift goes back up into the attic to only replay the same scene next year or until we assume this can’t be for me it must be for…well…someone else who is anyone BUT me. 

God has given gifts to all of us that He has placed under a tree…One even hung on a tree…let’s ponder some of these gifts. 

God’s greatest gift is why we celebrate Christmas, His Son Jesus. He came to live among men…men who rejected Him and hung Him on a tree (the cross). Jesus Christ’s obedience to His Father (God) by dying on the cross, fulfilled God’s ultimate and perfect Gift offered to all…received by some…rejected by many…salvation…restored communion and fellowship with God. 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

Ephesians 2: 8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9. not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared us in advance to do. (also see Romans 5:15-17) 

For those who are not Christian have left the gift of salvation under the tree and have not taken advantage of this gift, they have left it there sitting. It’s given but never opened. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

If we are Christians, we have accepted the gift God has sent for us. However, I would like to refer to other gifts God has given us in ways of talents, treasures and time. Gifts that God has given to us that He knows are perfect for us…for us to use for His glory…His purpose…and our good and our growth. 

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

But like the gifts that I talked about earlier, our responses to what God has given us in terms of gifts varies too. It’s really easy to find and open gifts, enjoying the ones we want…the ones we know we can use for our purpose and advantage. 

1 Corinthians 7: 7  I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 

We can thoroughly think of ways to use the things we asked for. But what about those scattered gifts under the “tree” of our faith that we don’t think are ours. Hey, I’ll take the gift of speaking but what if that gift of hospitality is supposed to be mine? I can certainly appreciate getting the gift of administration but how do I use this unasked for box of humility? (thinking I’m proud to say I don’t need that!) 

James 1:17  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

There are times I know God wants me to do something and I don’t.because I don’t think I am equipped…or more likely because I don’t want to.  See, God does give me all the tools to use and puts me in the right spot at the right time…I just didn’t get around to opening up the gift God gave me.  “Hey God, someone else can do that better than me, use them. I don’t have what it’ll take.”  Or just a shallow response “God, You shouldn’t have” (really God, You shouldn’t have)  

1 Corinthians 12: 1-11 (verses selected for emphasis, please read this whole passage)1. Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 4. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 11. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines. 

Well friend, if it’s a need for something…again, it’s just we haven’t taken it and faced the fact God gave us the “needs” as gifts. It’s those “needs” I wrote about earlier…we ask for wants…God always works in needs. And these needs might not be our wants but they certainly are exactly what God desires us to have…to use. 

Philippians 4:17&19  Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 

“How does it work?” or “What am I supposed to do with it?” you might add…with that I give you the most common unmanly response…READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.  See other gifts we’ve been given is our Bible and we can actually TALK to the “Manufacturer” of the gift by prayer, talk about customer service. Asking God for an explanation is okay…but do know, He will always give you the perfect gift and since it is designed with you in mind that in the end it will work perfectly.  And I am sure, looking back, you will see the purpose of the gift and say it was just the right size…maybe, you just had to grow into it! 

Romans:8:28  And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. 

As we venture into 2022, let’s look again under the tree as we are putting it away.  Maybe, just maybe, there is a gift that was left for us…one we didn’t see…maybe one we thought was for someone else. Don’t leave it sitting there or put it back up into the attic for next year…God just might have some exciting plans ahead for you this year if you are open to them! 

1 Peter 4:10-11  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

Pastor Steve