Uncle Bruce was the youngest of seven children and my Mom kind of looked after him. Bruce was not always the happiest person – the word grumpy comes to mind actually. But Mom was fond of him and looked after him a bit.
Bruce had returned from serving overseas with the Army and was living with my grandmother in her house. As Christmas approached, my mother was looking for the perfect gift for Bruce. Since she owned a gift shop, she was able to shop and get whatever she chose for wholesale – what a deal! And she found the perfect gift for Bruce. It was a real sword, about three feet long, with a nice scabbard. Even at wholesale pricing, it was still expensive, and we didn’t have much money. But Mom wanted Bruce to have this sword. So she bought it and wrapped it up in glitzy Christmas paper with a big bow on top.
On Christmas, we headed over to Grandma’s to exchange gifts with extended family. Of course, the special present for Bruce came along, and we were all eager to see his reaction when he got it. (I know I would have been thrilled to have a real sword! Although I probably would have hurt myself with it…)
When the time came, Mom picked up the glitzy package, walked over to Bruce and handed it to him. We were all shocked at his reaction. He growled, “I told you I didn’t want you to get me anything for Christmas” and he refused to take the gift. My mom was rather upset that he wouldn’t accept the special gift she had chosen for him.
When we getting ready to leave that night, Mom talked with Grandma, and we left the still unopened gift at Grandma’s house for Bruce.
A few years later, Grandma passed away. Bruce had been living with her until shortly before she died. When Mom and her sisters started cleaning out Grandma’s house, they found that Bruce had left many of his things behind. And in the back of the closet, my mother found the Christmas sword, still in the box, wrapped and untouched.
Now here’s the lesson. The gift had been acquired and given especially for Bruce, it was in his possession, but he never opened it. He didn’t even know what the gift was. In essence, he had never received the gift, although it had been there for him anytime he wanted it.
In the same way, the gift of life is freely available and already given to every man, woman, boy and girl on this earth. It is Jesus’s gift, that he chose for us, and paid for with his own blood. Each one of us must decide if we will receive the gift. Choose whether we are going to take it, open it and make it our own.
If we don’t actively receive the gift, we miss out on all the benefits that come from it. In this case, forgiveness, being made right with God, being accepted into God’s family both now and forever. If we assume the gift is there and it will be ours even if we don’t accept it, we will miss the opportunity – forever.
Don’t leave the gift of God in the corner of your life, unopened and unappreciated. Don’t save it for some other day. Receive it gladly today. Make it yours. Enjoy the new life that Jesus has freely given to you!