Hidden Package of Unmerited Love

My mother couldn’t wait to see what gifts of love were inside her Christmas packages. She’d unwrap each one, look inside, then carefully rewrap them. On Christmas morning she won an Oscar for acting surprised! She didn’t know we knew until she was older. How we laughed. Each year however, a few gifts lie untouched behind the tree. Disheveled paper, torn ribbon, and untied bows, revealed they’d been opened before.
Whoever heard of not accepting a gift? Especially these, which were specifically chosen for us? And that’s not a plastic gift card? Did we admire it, then put it back? It’s like leaving church after learning a great truth. “Wow, fantastic sermon.” Then walk out the door never claiming it.
Did fear, the unknown, feeling unworthy, doubt, or sin keep us from delving into the packages like a child shouting with delight at the contents?
Among the rumbled packages is a tattered, old box latterly crumbling at the edges, from continuously being opened and replaced.
Inside are three smaller boxes. The first tag reads, free gift. Engraved on a stone are the words, “For the wages of sin is death, but the [free] gift of God is eternal lie in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).
The second label reads believe. Red lettering filled a wooden cross: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that who so should believe in Him shall not die, but have eternal life” (John 3”16).
With the third we hesitate, we fidget, we struggle, we’re tempted to put it back. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2: 8-9).
Free gift ~ of eternal life; believe ~ God gave freely His Son so we would not die for our sins; grace ~ we did nothing, and we can do nothing to earn His unmerited favor. Hard concepts in a self-made generation world of not trusting we can receive “something for nothing.” Are the contents too good to be true, even for Christians? Some churches still make lists for earning salvation.
In the manger laid an extended love we didn’t deserve with no rules attached on how to earn it. “You, [Mary] will bring forth a Son and call Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
This Christmas may my mother’s excitement rub off on us in discovering the gifts of love. But let’s not put this first box back. May we accept, claim, and receive Christ making Him our own either for the first time, or by rededication. When we do, He’ll guide us with the other packages: faith, trust, promises, mercy, hope peace, obedience and more.
And the bells on Christmas morning will ring bright and clear with no more forgotten gifts of love left unopened from God.