I have to say that unexpected gifts are the best, wouldn’t you agree? I will always remember the Christmas that I received the best and most unexpected gift…
I heard my sister’s soft socks muffled on the upper stairway as I snuck around the corner of the downstairs stairway to where we would meet on the main floor. The scene of the tree, aglow with plenty of presents beneath, took our breath away. It was Christmas morning, 2 a.m., and my ten-year-old self was excited to see if any present under the tree would fit the shape and size of something on my wish list. As I took a closer look, I gasped out loud, for there, sitting on top of a large box was the kindest, royalist, softest lion— a tribute to Aslan, the main character, from the stories my dad read me aloud from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. I could see, even from a distance, the flowing mane of the lion, and the kind brown eyes– just like I had imagined as we read chapter after chapter each night. More than anything I wanted to go touch it, feel the wispiness of the mane. Instead, my loyal sister and I snuck back down to my room to talk about the unexpected gifts we had seen…I don’t think we got a wink of sleep after that “sneak peek” and if my memory serves right… it was the last year we had a large unwrapped present under the tree. 😆
These pictures are a few years prior of me & my little sis at Christmas time:
That Christmas, so many years ago, remains a strong memory because the gift was exactly what I desired even though it hadn’t been a part of my official wish list. Isn’t that true of unexpected gifts? It can be exactly what we need before we even know we need it!
This Thanksgiving weekend, I am surprised to find a gift in my hands. After all, isn’t the gift giving supposed to wait until a little closer to Christmas?
I pull back the gift wrap a bit at a time…
I hear God’s gentle and loving whisper, “It’s a gift especially for you… and in it is the greatest power to overcome this current world and all its challenges. Every attack that would come against you.”
Now my curiosity is really running rampant. A sword to fight my way through battles? Something that could erase all wrong? No, neither of these sound right.
I know… it’s a Bible. Perhaps that is what is inside. The Bible does hold such power to overcome every attack. But no, this box is as light as air…
I release the ribbon and slowly ease open the box… a tuft of a sweet aroma fills the air. I am suddenly at ease. All the world’s power, the enemy’s power, even my own struggles… they melt. They have instantly lost their power. Song lyrics swirl through the air causing freedom inside of my soul, the tethers that have bound me, instantly loosed:
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand“In Christ Alone”
“What is this gift?” I whisper, in awe, not wanting to break the beautiful aura around me.
“Eternity.” He whispers and the words reverberate in my heart.
“Yes,” I find myself saying. “That’s it.”
“This is a gift that no one can ever take from you. No problem, challenge, enemy, not even death itself can take this gift from you. It is my gift to you and it is secure, eternal.”
I (Jesus) give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.John 10:28-30
Somehow, minutes, hours, even days after receiving this “gift” the words continue to circle around in my heart and head. I think on them, meditate on them and the truth shines it’s light into my heart.
I find something shifting inside… the way I was so focused on making things right here in this world, fending off challenges and pain like this was my place to live for all eternity… that is gone. Gone is also the power of death and problems and hurts and fears. It has tried to bombard my soul for so long, but suddenly… the tethers of the soul are ripped away. Fear no longer has a hold on me because of this precious gift God has given me through His sacrifice. I now have a secure eternal destination in my Savior. I am not fighting to get to heaven… I am awaiting heaven, knowing it is my home and everything here on earth that tries to hold me down, limit me, hurt me… it cannot have a hold on my eternal destination.
I feel the truth of that changing me…
When we live from that truth, that precious unexpected gift, it rips all power from sin, death, hell, the grave. It no longer has the hold on us it once did. Our heart can now be established on the fact that no matter what comes our way, no matter what the enemy tries to rail against us, there is one thing that is untouchable: Our secure eternal destiny. (If we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior https://www.agapelife.org/next-steps/ for more information)
And with this knowledge, something releases deep down. Fear is gone. Freedom is here. Peace is here.
And along with that… an urgency. An urgency to tell others of this gift that God has for them too. God, in His goodness has a gift for each one here on earth. It has been marked with their name. It is theirs for the taking, yet so many of this “eternal gift” lie unopened. Some even cast aside, or thrown in the trash. So many people right now are without hope. Looking for the smallest ray of sunshine… the smallest glimmer of hope. We know that “hope” and how it is found only in Jesus. Only in His gift of eternal life. The fact that we can say, “come what may… my eternity is secure”.
It’s so important for us to reach people with this knowledge and this gift. They are hungry for it… so many hearts are ripe and ready for this good news in this time and hour. We want them to know the hope and comfort and peace and security we have found in the Lord and to experience it for themselves too. Nothing else matters. No other gift compares to this unexpected and perfect gift from the Father.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (Eternal, secure, destiny!)John 3:16
So as you start your gift shopping, searching for that perfect gift to gift to a friend or family member, include in that “gift” a few words, encouragement of the eternal gift we have—the most perfect, yet unexpected gift. If they do not know Him yet… make sure that is on your “to do” list for the holidays. I will be praying for hearts of relatives, friends, and loved ones to be opened in new and wondrous ways and that the accepting of God’s gift would happen in great measures all across the globe this Christmas season.
And may we remember, as the presents are opened and another holiday comes and goes, that God’s great gift of eternal life is really the only gift that carries weight for all of time. It’s the one that will last through all the difficulties and mess of this present world… the gift of a secure eternal destiny. Heaven.
Until next time,