Several years ago, I was at an after-Christmas sale at Macy’s. My wardrobe for work needed a new influx of items. I found quite a few things I liked or needed that were on sale. As I got in the line to check out, I noticed that people were handing things to the cashier as they checked out. At first, I thought these customers were using gift cards. But as I got closer, I noticed that it was coupons. I wondered where they had gotten them.
As I moved closer to the cashier, I heard the cashier and a customer discussing the coupon. It was for another 25% off your purchase. As the woman checked out, she used her coupon, and the cashier handed it back and told her it was good for the whole day on all purchases anywhere in the store. That made it a very special coupon, and I wanted one.
The customer took it back from the cashier. On her way out, she stopped and asked me if I had a coupon. When I said ‘no’, she handed hers to me and said she was done shopping to take it. I took it and thanked her. What a wonderful gift! She asked for nothing in return. All I had to do was accept it. I saved a lot of money on my new wardrobe that day.
Just as that coupon was an unexpected gift, so Jesus is to us. During this time of year our thoughts turn to that baby born to a young girl and man. The tiny boy was laid in a manger as angels sang in the Heavens. A special star gleamed over where this baby laid. All this special orchestration denoted that this baby was of heavenly royalty and a special human life.
As Mary and Joseph looked at that darling, sweet baby, their hearts probably swelled with joy, love and hope. They knew this was God’s Son. I’m sure they believed He would grow into someone famous and powerful that would lead their people out of oppression and poverty. They had no clue that their baby was going to grow up and forsake his trade of carpentry to have a ministry that would preach freedom through repentance and faith and the importance of loving all people – even our enemies. Then at the prime of His adult life, He would cruelly and unjustly die a criminal’s death without ever having committed a crime Himself on a cross. And just as He came into the world with heavenly fanfare, He would conquer death in the same way and rise from the grave and walk among those He loved and then ascend into Heaven on a cloud promising to return.
Jesus was God’s plan for mankind. He devised a plan to free humanity from their chains of sin and despair and to live with Him eternally. Jesus knew what was in store for Him when He came here to Earth, and He still came. He gave the gift of eternal life for all. Just as that woman held out that coupon for me to accept, He stands there holding salvation out to us. It’s our choice whether to accept it or reject it. It’s the Christmas gift that gives eternally.
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