This time of year, you might find yourself asking, “What do I give to someone who already seems to have everything?” Really creative people come up with the answer. Some of us are a little short in the creativity department, and we struggle to find the answer. In the end, we give up and give a gift certificate.
What to give to the person who has nothing
Yet a better question for us to consider during this season is, “What do you give to a person who has nothing?” What is the perfect gift for someone who is completely and utterly poor and destitute? Where would you start? Wouldn’t you start by giving the most important thing first?
That’s exactly what God did when he looked at us. On the seventh day, as God considered his completed creation—perfect in every detail—he proclaimed it good. The Giver of all gave the man and woman, the crown of his creation, everything they could possibly want or need.
But it wasn’t long before his perfect world was shattered. Seeking something better than what God had given, Adam and Eve turned from God and went their own way. It was a way that led only to death, despair, and complete and utter poverty. The two objects of God’s boundless love threw what he had given back at him and ended up with nothing.
We have nothing
God had graciously acted to make his creatures people who had it all. Now he would act again to give the perfect gift to people who had absolutely nothing. It would be the perfect gift because it would be the most important thing that they would need. He made a promise to send the Seed of the woman to restore the joy, perfection, and peace that had been once given but was thrown away.
Martin Luther spoke for us all when he said, “We are beggars.” Regardless of balances in our bank accounts, the size of our well-furnished homes, the multiple cars in our garages, and the talents and abilities we have, on our own, we are really people who stand before God with nothing—nothing good, nothing noble, nothing worthy of reward. If we do an honest inventory of our spiritual state, we can only echo the words of Paul and confess that we are the worst of sinners. We are nothing but beggars.
God's riches become our own
But a gracious heavenly Father looks at us with the same love that sought our first parents as they hid in the garden. He sees that we deserve nothing. He is aware that we can do nothing to change anything. But with love and concern that yearned for us before we were born, he points us to that same Seed of the woman that he promised to Adam and Eve. He directs our attention to the One who came not just to restore perfection to a ruined creation but also to restore perfection to you and to me.
He invites us to kneel with the shepherds at the most unlikely of cradles. He urges us to hear the voices of the angel who announced the birth of God’s perfect Gift. In his Word he directs us to listen to the Son he loves. By the power of his Spirit he leads us to the cross where that Son would die for us beggars.
God's Christmas gift to us
We may have trouble deciding what to give to someone. Our gracious God had no such difficulty. He knew exactly what to give to needy sinners: the perfect Gift for people who have nothing. The perfect Gift that makes us people who now have everything.
By Sarah Proeber