As a culture, at Christmas, we are very bent on buying gifts for our family and friends. This is good. We are giving and modeling our God whose heart is giving. But the question I pose today, “Does God want us to give ourselves a gift?” Yes, He does! This gift may look a little different than what you expect.
Isaiah tells the people of Judah to “Wash and make yourself clean. Take your evil deeds out of God’s sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow….if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land…” (Isaiah 1:16-17, 19).
The gift God wants us to give ourselves is an intentional heart for what God loves. When we repent of our selfishness or even our indifference, and cleanse our heart of the infractions of this world that conflict with what God loves, we prepare ourselves to stop our sin, learn what’s right and seek the true reason we celebrate Christmas.
We begin to develop Christ’s mindset; our heart becomes bent toward others and is less concerned with self-gratification. Suddenly, as we hurry to buy that last-minute gift, our eyes open to the homeless whom we might have missed. We stop, we give, we love. Swiftly we look for ways to help the mother who has no husband to help her. We give to the hurting child who has nothing. We start to organize our finances so that helping and serving others is our priority. We discover we can live on less and give more.
We learn that eating the good things of the land means to develop a godly influence in our community. We clean our heart, replace it with God’s cares, help those whom he loves, and celebrate the heart of our God that now lives inside us!
What gift can we give ourselves this Christmas? God’s heart!