In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
A generous God
Short and sweet readings today. This first one is Paul speaking. He’s saying goodbye to his dear friends the Ephesians. He gives a long speech about how he worked with the Ephesians and where he felt God was leading him next. He saves this statement as his parting message, his final point, quoting Jesus: ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’. Knowing Paul’s style from his letters as well I was quite surprised that this is his final admonishment to the people. After all he had learned and been through the message he wanted to share with the Ephesians was ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’.
Next we have that beautiful verse from John. Any love that we express on this earth is simply a reflection of the love that God has shown us. This is the gift of Christmas: ‘not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.’
Although Christmas present buying can be a chore, when you find something you just know the recipient will love, it is great fun. The anticipation of giving that gift can be more fun than getting a present yourself. It’s worth the wait to see the look on the receiver’s face.
I remember when my nephew was 2, we bought him one of those ‘little tykes’ red plastic cars with the yellow roof that you can sit in and ride around in. We gave it to him and for the first few minutes he ran around simply repeating ‘car! car!’ Then, for the rest of the day, he kept taking the opportunity to go outside and walk round his new car, opening and closing the door, getting in and out of it (this amused me as it is exactly what most adults do when they get a new car too!). It was such a great present to get him because he loved it so much!
That excitement you feel when you know you’ve got a good present for someone is a pale reflection of the joy with which God gave his Son to us.
Thank God for his most wonderful gift!