Today at The Gathering in our series, “They Promised Me Chocolate,” we turned our focus to what are the best gifts in life. At Christmas time we run around intent on trying to find that one perfect gift. We often have the idea that the bigger and more expensive it is, the more potential it has to have lasting value. When the truth of the matter is, some of the best gifts in life can’t be contained, can’t be earned, and, believe it or not, cannot be lost; only surrendered.
So today we talked about the eight best gifts of Christmas.
- The gift of election. This word makes a lot of people nervous. But it’s right there in the Scripture; that God predestined, called, justified, and glorified those He loves. Arte you a person who feels chosen, feels like God has pursued you and found you; not to condemn you and hurt you, but to love you and lift you; to redeem, to reconcile, and restore your life? That’s the gift of His electing love.
- The gift of inner peace. This is actually the outgrowth of the gift of election. Jesus said he left his peace with us. But it is not a peace that is defined or described, or even identified oftentimes by the rest of the world. Peace in that interpretation means the cessation of conflict. The truth is, we can live in the midst of conflict and still retain our inner peace. The world around us can be in a swirl and we can be totally calm inside.
- The gift of meaningful work. Oftentimes we worry way too much about what we will achieve with our work and forget to enjoy the work we have – meaningful work. The Scriptures say that to eat, drink, and enjoy the fruits of our labor are some of the best gifts from God.
- The gift of laughter. Seven times in the Psalms we are told to make a joyful noise. What is that? Laughter. In Proverbs we’re taught that a cheerful heart is good medicine. God gives us the gift to laugh: to laugh at ourselves, to laugh at situations, to laugh at things that once caused us great pain and worry, but seem so small and insignificant now.
- The gift of fun. If you’re not having any fun, then you’re doing something wrong, because life was intended to be enjoyed. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures in Nehemiah tell us that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
- The gift of friends. Life is not a solo sport. We’re not made to live on an island of conflict, by ourselves, cut off from those who love us, lift us, and care about us.
- The gift of love. God’s love never fails. It constantly prevails. It’s not a feeling. It’s a reality, an action, a commitment that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
- The gift of hope. The Scriptures promise that anyone who puts their true hope in God would never be disappointed. If I am disappointed it’s a result of my perspective or even my pain, but not of God’s failure.
Remember bigger is not always better. The answer is not always more money, more stuff, and more control. As a matter of fact, when you overestimate how much of the world you own and control, you’ll be miserable. When you open your hands and realize that the very best things in life can never truly be lost, you begin living the life God intended.