3How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. 4Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. 5Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) 6He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
--Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)
Celebration! I like those. They evoke memories of happy times. When I turned ten, my mother invited all my little girl friends over from the neighborhood. We played games; we ate cake and ice cream. I got tons of gifts and we gave out party favors. Everyone got a gift that day. A picture was taken of all us girls in our little party dresses lined up on the couch downstairs and it was submitted to the newspaper. My birthday was stamped on history. I’m sure if you look in the archives, (if they go back that far,) it’s there somewhere, indelibly marked in microfiche.
That day of my party, my adolescent brain couldn’t process that my friends were having just as great a time as I was. We played games and enjoyed each other. I remember that I felt loved and special.
In my Christian walk, I’ve had no trouble accepting God’s lavish gift-giving. But it’s been as if I had blinders on as to what the giver was feeling. God wants, desires, for us to enter into the celebration. And who is giving the gifts? His beloved Son. And what is He giving? Himself. How more lavish a present than life itself, which is what Jesus gave to me by His own hand? As the recipient of that gift, I certainly feel loved and special. But what was God feeling? He wants, desires, for me to enter into the celebration.
Celebration! God is throwing a birthday party this Christmas. And in His all-inclusive way, He is celebrating us, His guests, as well as His Son in the manger. We enter in giving Him the gift of our worship, and He hands us a gift that surpasses anything we could give Him. Eternal life in the presence of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Wouldn’t it have been horrible if my mother had thrown me a party, and my little friends never showed up?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for throwing this party. I praise You for the lavish gift-giving, but more than that, I praise Your Son who is the one lavishing at His hand. Thank You for the gift of eternal life. Thank You, Abba, for celebrating me in honor of Jesus Christ. Amen.