Is there a Christmas gift you remember receiving in the past that really stands out?
I recall one I received when I was eight years old. The Kodak Instamatic Camera had just come out, and I really wanted one.
I had never had my own camera before, and I could just envision all the pictures I could take. It was all I asked for from anyone I could think of. I asked my parents, grandparents, aunt, and Santa himself. I even prayed to God for it, promising to be the best behaved boy I could be if I received it.
And on Christmas morning, there it was under the tree! I couldn’t have been happier. I thanked everyone profusely. I thanked God and, remembering my promise, tried to be good. (But that was one promise I admit I wasn’t able to keep very long.)
Now, this camera wasn’t one of those gifts you just have to have and then a short time later it’s forgotten in the back of the closet. No, I put the camera to good use for almost ten years.
Then one day it stopped working.
Since it was cheaper to buy a new camera than fix the old Instamatic, it went into the trash. It was time to get a new one.
That’s the way it is with a lot of gifts we receive.
But last week, we looked at two gifts that are different–the gift of salvation and the gift of marriage. Fortunately, these are two gifts that do not–or should not–become obsolete, break down, or be thrown away.
About our salvation, Jesus said in John 10:28: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
We are Christ’s forever when we give our lives to Him as Lord.
If you have never done this or not certain you have, please go to our Meet Jesus page to find out how you can have this never-ending, never-fading gift from God.
And about our marriages, Jesus gave this response to the Jewish leaders’ question about divorce: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’” (Matthew 19:4-6).
Jesus affirmed that both our salvation and our marriages are permanent gifts. Our salvation is eternal. It will continue forever in heaven with Jesus beyond our earthly deaths. Our marriages are to continue until our time on earth is complete (see Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39). This is why the traditional marriage ceremony vow concludes: “…until death do us part.”
Christmas is about how God provided us with the greatest gift that provides for our greatest need–the need for salvation through faith in His Son Jesus.
God always knows the true needs of His children. And He promises to gift us with everything else we need when we trust our lives and marriages to Him.
Paul states it this way in Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Our marriage is also a great gift from God. And when we trust Him together with our lives, He gives us gifts that no one else can give us. Gifts we need to have the joyous marriage He desires for us—one that will glorify Him.
God promises to give us everything we need. Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-33: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
God promises to give us comfort and rest for our souls when we are facing troubles. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
And God promises us the gift of peace and freedom from fear. Jesus says in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
These are just some of the wonderful gifts God gives to us for our lives and marriages. When we commit our lives to Him, we will recognize the gift He has given us in each other, as well as the many other gifts He has bestowed upon us.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read the teaching together. What did God say to you about your marriage?
♦ Discuss together some of the gifts God has given you in your marriage. How does this make you think and feel about God and your marriage?
♦ Discuss some ways you can serve God by being His conduit through which His gifts can be given to others this Christmas and beyond. Make plans to give those gifts.
♦ Close your time in prayer praising God for the many gifts He has given you. Thank Jesus for stepping down from heaven to come to earth so He could bring us the greatest gift of all–our salvation. Praise Him for the gift of your marriage, and the gift of serving Him together.
Next week, we’ll talk about a word that has been very special to me and Sabra this year. It is our “one word” for 2016—portion. And it has a special meaning both for Christmas and our marriages.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,