When I was a kid, probably around 10 or 11 years old, I took Christmas wish list formulation to a whole new level. Im sure my mom never saw it coming and my dad just shook his head and wondered what planet I came from. Let me take you back.
It was the good old days when the original nintendo was a highly advanced gaming system whose crisp sharp substandard definition 2 pixel characters dazzled the eyes. It was absolutely amazing. Its controller was only to be wielded by the most advanced of technicians. It consisted of a directional pad, and two, yes, two, other buttons, brilliantly named A and B. For the supremely advanced, there were also “start”, and “select” buttons. It came with probably the most famous video game in the known universe in Mario brothers, and later would be known for other greats such as Bugs Bunny, Marble Madness and Tecmo Bowl. Those names alone bring back floods of memories that cannot be forsaken. This Nintendo, was the sole item on my christmas list.
During this time known as “the great video game awakening”, Christmas at our house was fast approaching, and I remember Tyson and I lying awake in our beds for HOURS, scheming, planning, brain-storming (most of this was me, I don’t think Tyson actually cared that much) for any ideas to make our (my) dream of NES ownership come true. Finally, it came to me one night in a revelation (loose interpretation of that word). I would create a contract. This contract would consist of absolutely legit and legally binding agreements between I, the executer, and mom and dad. They, the enforcers, would lay out some terms that would guarantee that upon receiving the NES system, we, the children of said household, would always do homework, chores, practice piano, and any other wish or desire of the parents prior to partaking in its awesomeness. We basically would sign our whole lives, and time away to be in the complete control of our parents.
I then went and strongly suggested (forced) each child sign the paper, contractually binding them to their word. After the signing ceremony, I presented the first completed contract upon our Mother’s desk and stated that, “Hereupon lies the signatures of your children, we, the undersigned, do agree to be perfect, in exchange for a consent to allow a Mr. Santa Clause to deliver a NES system, and that you, the aforementioned parents will, upon adequate fulfillment of said children’s obligations, shall not inhibit the awesome participation thereof. Pretty impressive legalese for a 10 year old right?
Subsequently, because of overwhelming evidence that the children of the contract, were, in fact, perfect, Santa did bring a Nintendo Entertainment System, and it was enjoyed for many years thenceforth. It seemed at the time to be the most precious gift ever bestowed upon the children of man, that is, until I grew up….
Lets now take off our frost covered, candy cane Christmas glasses and see things as they should be. The greatest gift we can receive is not a plastic box that melts our brains slowly over time, but that which our oldest brother, our Savior, has already given us.
Isaiah said it in a beautiful way, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah’s declaration summarizes exactly who Jesus Christ would be. His words also explain that Jesus Christ was a gift that would be given. He was born unto us, a Son given to us. So, how was Jesus Christ himself a gift? What is it about the King of Kings that qualifies him as a gift? In His own words he explained, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” So, our older brother gave himself as a gift. Himself, as in, he gave his flesh, and his life. Remember the words used to describe his last mortal moment, He “gave up the ghost”.
Every act, every breath, every word, every thought was a gift to us. He learned how to give from His Father. John explained, ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Our Father gave us His only begotten Son, in order to enable all of us to return to Him. And its more than just returning to live with Him. Because of the gift of Jesus Christ, we were promised that if we believe in Him, we would not perish but have everlasting life. Everlasting life is not an adjective describing how long we will live, but more like a noun describing what we can be. Eternal life is Christ’s life. Christ’s life is eternal life. This is ultimately the gift that He has given us. His life. To live as he does. To be a joint heir with Him. He alone made it possible. Our Father in Heaven gave us Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ gave himself to us. This is the most precious and greatest gift ever bestowed upon mankind. Ever.