If you’re like me you are looking at your Christmas tree staring back at you like “I’ve done my job…no what do you want me to do?” You’re wishing it would take itself to the curb or pack itself up and take all the decorations you put out away with it. Every so often though, when I get to this point and start to take it down and pack stuff up I will find a box sitting there…alone, wrapped but the tag is missing. It’s part mystery…its part hope. That, my friends, is the basis for this devotional.

Have you ever looked under the tree and wish 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 as 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’s greatest gift for why we celebrate Christmas is 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. For those who are not Christian, they have left the gift of salvation under the tree and have not taken advantage of this offered gift given in love. If we are Christians, we have accepted the gift God has sent for us…grace is a gift…right?

However I would like to refer to the 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.

1 Peter 4:10-11
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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. 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?

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 gift me with 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)

“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 are 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!

As we venture into 2021 with all its excitement and apprehension, 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 to re-gift next year…God just might have some exciting plans ahead for you this year if you were open to them!

Pastor Steve