“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
On Christmas morning I woke up before everyone else and was sitting downstairs by just the light of the Christmas tree, the mantel decorations, the advent wreath, and the small lamp in the corner of the room. I sipped on my chai tea while reading through The Christmas Story (see Luke 1-2) after having just finished the last section of my Advent devotional, The Greatest Gift.
Maybe the devotional jogged my memory or maybe it was my stocking still waiting to be opened on the other side of the couch; whatever the reason, an old song from my childhood days popped into my head and I started softly singing it (not realizing I had changed a key word in the process). My version started out, “The greatest gift in all my life is knowing you….” But before you read any further listen to the real version here.
I had unconsciously changed the title of the song from “The Greatest Thing” to “The Greatest Gift.” And this started me wondering if that change made much of a difference to the song’s meaning? I decided it did.
This is because my change in the song’s wording had helped me realize that all I have is a gift from God and is not of my own merit; that even my knowing, loving and serving Him is a result of the prompting of the Holy Spirit in my life and the subsequent opening of my heart, mind and soul. My realization also reminded me of few key sections of Scripture:
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:4-10).
” The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 3:10-17)
Through these verses I saw that even all this truth flooding into my heart in that moment was a result of The Greatest Gift Of All coming into the world through the birth of Jesus Christ. What a gift and what a God!