It's a Christmas tradition.

You spend hours on the Internet, days traveling to major shopping centers in faraway places, and weeks at the local mall; you sew clothing and dolls, you knit sweaters and scarves, you bake goodies; you make beautiful things out of wood, or you painstakingly putting together scrapbooks. It's all for the same goal: to have just the right gifts to express your love and good wishes to those on your gift list, and when Christmas comes, and you take pleasure in the joy that comes upon the faces of those you have so carefully prepared for.

It's a special thing, this giving of gifts!

But the joy doesn't stop there. Though they say that the true joy comes from the giving (and I heartily agree!), there is also joy in the receiving of gifts. In fact, for some, it is the receiving that brings the most joy!

This was my attitude when I was young. As a child, I used to spend hours beside the Christmas tree. I wish I could say that I just looked, but I have to admit that I usually let my fingers do the looking. I picked packages up. I shook them, I weighed them, I did my best to figure out what I had on my wish list that would look, feel and sound like what was in my hand. And, with much shame, I also have to admit that I sometimes even opened them in secret!

It is said that this focus on giving and getting at Christmastime is wrong, that we should, instead, be focusing on Jesus. Again, I heartily agree.  But I would argue that the entire Christmas story IS about giving and getting!

After all, Jesus gave us the most precious gift of all when He gave us His life!

Think about it: He left His Father, His source of Life, and His celestial home to come and walk the paths of this sin-torn world. And then, out of the joy of giving, He gave His life that we might have life more abundant: ". . . Who for the JOY that lay before Him ENDURED a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne." (Heb. 12:2b)

But Jesus doesn't only delight in giving. It also makes Him happy when He receives a gift of love from you!

But can WE give the One who gave us so much?

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more REJOICING in heaven over ONE SINNER WHO REPENTS than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7 NIV)

Friends, the perfect gift for Jesus is the gift of your heart!

Go with me for a moment, to the celestial Christmas tree . . .

Jesus stands to the side, peering at all the packages, wondering and hoping that one of them contains YOUR heart . . . I can imagine Him picking up a package and weighing it in His nail-pierced hand. I can see a broad smile come over His face as He says, in a voice filled with desire: "That could be Jonathan! Oh I hope it is! I hope he has given Me his heart for Christmas this year!" Then His loving fingers move over to another, smaller package and He tenderly lifting it to His majestic ear; but then a fervent longing comes over His face as He realizes the box is empty: "Oh Britany, it isn't too late! Accept My gift! If you do, you will give Me the best Christmas present I will ever receive!" And I can see the tear slip down His cheek as He gently replaces the empty package.

"But," you say, "I have already given Jesus my heart! What else can I give Him for Christmas this year?"

Let's return to the celestial tree: Jesus' fingers move to another box. As He picks it up, His hand begins to tremble and another tear slips down his careworn cheeks. This box isn't empty, but it almost is! "Jordan," he whispers, "You gave Me your heart for Christmas last year, but you forgot to give Me your soul! Oh, Jordan! I want to be more than just your Savior, I want to be your Lord!" His throat becomes clogged with tears, and He pauses to clear them away. Then He continues, in a desperate whisper this time: "If you would let Me, I could heal your addictions! I could mend your broken heart! I could repair the holes in your self-esteem! I could show you the path that would lead you to a richer, more fulfilling life! But first, you must give Me more!" Then the fingers replace the package, and Jesus gently shakes His head as He wipes the tears from His eyes: "Oh Father! Let My gift for Jordan this year be to help him realize that I'm more than His Savior!"

Then He slowly gets up and moves to another stack of much smaller boxes. These are from the Christians of the world, and the majestic shoulders now begin to shake: "Father, if they only knew how much I long to spend time with them! If they only knew that I died to bridge the gap that sin made between us, so that I might have daily communion with them! Father, if only they would give Me a few minutes of their time! Time to walk together, talk together, time for Me to heal their many wounds, to make them smile, to hear their silvery laughter! But . . ." His majestic voice breaks at this point, and He can only continue at an effortful whisper: "But they refuse to do more than just go to church! If they only knew . . . !" And He sits back, sadly shaking His head.

A bit of fantasy? Perhaps. The point is, just like us, Jesus also delights in receiving! First and foremost, He wants our hearts. He wants us to let Him into our lives so that He can give us guidance and direction, so that He can help us with our problems, our broken relationships, our self-esteem, and our addictions. But even more than that, He longs to spend time with us!

Let's make Jesus happy this Christmas by putting His name on our gift list!

For those who have never done so, or need to do it again, now is the time to give Him your heart! Just go to http://www.answers2prayer.org/steps.html and http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html .

For those who have already accepted Jesus gift of Salvation, let's resolve to spend intimate time with Him every day. Let's resolve to give Him our problems so that He can help us through them. Let's accept His love, His assistance, and His strength as our own, this Christmas and for the rest of our lives!

A very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you this year as you search for the perfect gift for your Lord and Savior!

In His love,

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Author and Moderator, The Nugget and the Scriptural Nuggets website ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org

P.S.  For those of you who would like to give Jesus the gift of spending time with Him, of developing a relationship with Him, but don't know how, please email me at helpmelearnaboutjesus@gmail.com .  There's nothing I would like more than to help you learn more about my best Freind!