Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The gift I didn't want

It isn't out of the ordinary to receive a gift at Christmas you don't like. It happens to almost all of us at some point, though I am not too picky, and I think I am pretty easy to buy for. I like clothes, books, CDs, food, and gift cards..... it can't get much easier than that. However, it isn't the norm to be told ahead of time that you are receiving a gift you won't like. But it happened to me.

   I have never been much into sports. I liked softball OK, but was never good at it, and I really liked soccer, but never had much chance to play it. Basketball wasn't my thing, and I didn't mind throwing the ball in attempts to get it in the basket, but football...... even as an adult, there are not words to describe how much I hate football.

  I attended a Christian school, and since it was a small school, all of the boys in grades 7-12 had the same gym class. We sometimes did exercises, but when we played a sport, we all had to play whatever the popular kids wanted to play.....and I wasn't one of those, so I got no vote, which meant I was forced to play whatever everyone else wanted to play. Softball was easy to understand. I never totally got the rules of basketball, but it sort of made sense. It took me a few games, but soccer made a lot of sense. Football? I still don't know what a fullback is, a running back, or much about the game. I was forced (that sounds bad, but it is true) to play a game I didn't know how to play, and I hated it from the start. Eventually, I hated it so much, that I didn't care to understand it.

  Enter the Christmas that I was 14 years of age. My parents decided I needed to play sports more instead of reading so much. They informed me that they were getting me a football for Christmas. I truly thought they were joking. They knew I didn't like football. But they weren't. As we kids opened our gifts on Christmas morning, sure enough..... one of the gifts I opened had a football.

  I was surprised, but they had told me, or should I say warned me? And that was before the days that we started buying gag gifts. And we never spend that much on gag gifts. Now a normal boy would have been excited, would have taken the football out of the box and wanted to go outside and throw the football. But I wasn't a normal boy. I was a boy who hated football, probably more than my parents realized. To this day, I blame sports in general, and football specifically for the bullying I got  in school, which to this day causes me problems.

  So instead of throwing the football, I tossed it. Aside. My sisters eventually took it out of the box and threw it around a bit. It ended up in the basement, where it went flat and got thrown out.

  God said way back in the Garden of Eden that He was going to send the world a Gift. By the time that Gift came, not many people believed it anymore. And many tossed that Gift aside. Herod tried to kill Him. The religious leaders of the day did kill Him. And down through the ages, people have tried to toss Him aside, have tried to wipe any mention of Him from the earth, but He still is there through it all. A Gift for the taking.

 And what a gift. So much better than a football, or any gift that any human has ever given to another. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of any who bow and ask Him into their heart and repent of their sins. No matter what we have done, how wicked we have been, no matter what sins we have committed or how many, one drop of His blood will wipe it all away. We may still do some reaping and suffer the consequences of some of those sins, but they are forgiven and forgotten forever.

  I for one, tend to overlook that at Christmas. Sure, I try to focus on Jesus coming to earth for me, but the "why" gets lost in all of the gift giving and celebrations and busyness of the season. He came to die so that we could come to Him and find forgiveness for all our sin..... sins that we committed against Him.

  When we breathe our last breath, and our soul takes flight, it won't matter what gifts we tossed aside or kept over our life that came from human hands. But it will matter what we have done with the Gift God gave us. He is so much better than a football, even for those who like football.

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