Well, it's that time of the year when we all collect gifts from family and friends so that we can re-wrap them and give them to a group of different family members and friends.
It's called re-gifting. We've all had those moments when we've opened a gift and thought to ourselves, "what were they thinking?" But we smile, say "thank you" and once they leave promptly wrap it up and re-gift it to someone else.
By the way, did you know that there's a whole etiquette around re-gifting? It's becoming more and more acceptable to re-gift your gifts. People do it all the time. The key is to watch how people handle your gift once they open it. If they keep your gift in the package or keep the shrink wrap on it-they're probably thinking about re-gifting that thing. When that happens, don't be offended. Just embrace the reality that re-gifting has been practised for centuries. You can even find it in the Bible.
It's true. A guy named Paul, who wrote a good chunk of the New Testament told a group of friends, "I have something for you. In fact I am going to pass on to you what I received from God himself." (1 Corinthians 11: 23).
There you have it. Maybe the first recorded act of re-gifting. It's nothing new. In fact, re-gifting is a key part of the Christian faith. Those who follow Jesus have been re-gifting what they have received from God for thousands of years.
So what is it that Christianity continually wraps up and re-gifts? Second chances!
It's the perfect gift. Why? Because a second chance is what everybody wants and it's what everyone needs.
God specializes in second chances. Christmas is a story that's all about second chances. It was God looking down on the world and watching his creation trade their relationship with him for their own self-sufficiency. It was mankind choosing to be god (which never works out well). So, instead of leaving us in our sin God said, "Let's give them another chance," and he sent his son Jesus to become one of us. That's why we call him Emmanuel which means "God with us".
That little baby would grow up and change the world by being killed on a Roman cross only to rise from the dead three days later proving that he was and is God.
Since then followers of Jesus have been re-gifting his offer of forgiveness and abundant life with any who would listen.
They have discovered that Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving. He is exactly what you need and want. Do you need purpose in your life?
Do you need hope? Do you need to know you are loved? Do you need strength and wisdom to face family members these holidays?
Well then God is exactly what you need because whatever you need -God is.
God gave his Son Jesus to save us and ever since has been re-gifting his offer of a second chance. His offer is open to you. It's the perfect gift for all people, for all times, for all places, and for all situations.
All you need to do is receive him. I pray you will.
? Shawn is pastor of Promontory Church. If you want to connect or re-gift any of your Christmas presents to him feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.