Pause with Pastor Joel – January 9, 2023

As I opened gifts this Christmas I found myself reflecting on gift giving. What is it that makes for a good gift?
I found myself thinking of two characteristics that make for a good gift, to my mind:
  • It’s something that clearly shows the giver knows you.
  • It’s something that brings joy to you.
This Christmas, for instance, I was given some Lego™ Muppet™ figurines. I love the Muppets. When I heard they were coming out with these toys, a part of me wanted them, but I figured that was a ridiculous thing to spend money on.
Yet come Christmas I opened a gift and it was some of these figurines. It was a wonderful gift because it showed how much the giver knew me. They knew I loved the Muppets and would enjoy these little figurines. They may have even known that I wasn’t the kind of person to spend my own money on this kind of thing, but who would enjoy having them.
It also was something that gave me great joy. The continue to do so, every time I look at them. They are truly a great gift.
My musings on gifts led me to consider the gift of Jesus this time of year. God’s gift of Jesus truly meets these criteria. First, Jesus comes to fulfill a need we have that really is only apparent because of how deeply God knows us. God knows we need a savior, even when we may be tempted to think we don’t.
Jesus also brings joy. Once we realize how much we need this savior and what he has done for us then we are flooded with joy. Hopefully on a daily basis. The depth of joy in truly understanding our status as forgiven people, even when we feel we could never be forgiven, even when we can’t forgive ourselves – the joy of that knowledge is unending!
Jesus is truly a great gift given because of how much the giver knows us and also to give joy. Jesus accomplishes both (and so much more) in our lives. Praise be to God for this great gift!

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