The Grace Gift
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8 & 9 ESV))
As our family grew, buying Christmas gifts for everyone became a bigger and bigger task. When I proposed that we change to a grab-bag kind of gift exchange, it was enthusiastically received.
Our procedure was that each person brings a gift to the exchange of no more than $20 in value. The gift was to be wrapped with no marking to conceal who had brought it. All the gifts were placed on a table in the middle of the room. Each person would draw a number to determine the order in which he would select a gift. To make for interest and to help everyone get a gift he really wanted, when a number came up, that person could select an unopened gift on the table, or could instead take one of the already opened gifts from another person. When a person’s gift was taken, he could take the gift from someone else. The round ended when a new gift was unwrapped. Then a new round started with the next numbered person taking a gift.
We would have a lot of fun with this exchange. There were always a couple of creative items that everyone wanted. These moved around on each turn. In the end, everyone who brought a gift would end with one. However, because of the taking from others, at some point the family began to refer to this gift exchange as “Greed.”
One year I upset the usual routine by slipping in two extra gifts. The extras were not noticed until we got almost down to the last. When it was finally noticed that we had more gifts than people, the question came up about what we would do with the extras?
“This isn’t fair,” was the reaction when we got to the end and still had gifts on the table.
“Why isn’t it fair?” I asked.
“Someone will get two gifts,” was the reply.
I then explained that if you brought a gift you expected to receive a gift. Was that really a gift?
A gift by definition is something you receive without it being earned. What we were calling gifts were payback or wages earned by bringing a gift.
The two extra gifts I called “Grace Gifts.” No one had earned them. Two people were going to get unearned gifts. Everyone else was getting just what they deserved.
When our Lord redeems our sins through the blood of Christ, it is a gift that has not been earned. It is truly unmerited favor.
Two of my family experienced grace through receiving the “Grace Gifts,” but everyone received a lesson in the true meaning of the word gift.
Whenever we do some act of kindness to a person who cannot repay us, we are showing the Grace the Lord has given us through the redemption of our souls through the blood of His son, Jesus Christ.
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