Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?
Did your Christmas gifts fit you perfectly?
Did they come in the right colors and correct sizes, or are you exchanging gifts like millions of other people around the world this week? Are you returning a gift that you didn’t want this Christmas for the gift that you really wanted?
Some people get their feelings hurt when you exchange their gift. Not me. I’m all for exchanging gifts. I have no problem with family or friends returning my gifts to replace them with something else.
I put thought and effort into every gift. However, I don’t get my feelings hurt when someone exchanges it, because my gift was meant to be meaningful and useful. If there’s something more meaningful or useful than my gift, exchange it for something else.
You’ve probably received a gift at some point that you would never consider exchanging. Even if it didn’t fit perfectly, the circumstances around the gift are so special that you’d never trade it for another gift.
This is what the gift of love is like. It’s the perfect gift and one that you’d never exchange for something else. Here are two reasons why no one in his or her right mind would ever consider exchanging the gift of love:
Love, when properly understood, can only be considered a gift. If you have to earn it … it’s not really love! Therefore, one of the greatest gifts a human will ever receive is not given in a package with a bow on top. It is a gift from the heart. It is the gift of love.
Love is relentless! The gift of love never gives up on the one receiving it… even when that person is not easy to love. Let’s just be honest; you know some people who are difficult to love. So do I! Here’s a recent article that I wrote about people who are hard to love.
You can be hard to love sometimes too (because you’re not perfect) and so can I (because I’m not perfect either). This is what makes the gift of love so powerful. It keeps giving even in the most challenging of circumstances.
The greatest example that I have ever experienced about being loved is found in the Bible. Romans 5:8 puts it this way: “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
If you pay close attention to the language here, you will notice that love is always demonstrated. It’s more than the three simple words “I love you”. God proves his love to us. He does more than just say that he loves us.
The deepest and most powerful forms of love are demonstrated in the greatest sacrifices. That’s why God’s proof of his love is the sacrifice of his son on our behalf.
Notice that the Bible describes God’s sacrifice for us while we were still in our sin. God doesn’t wait until we clean ourselves up and make ourselves presentable before he loves us.
Rather, God showers his love on us when we are dirty and desperate.
Some people are difficult to love, but others have difficulty being loved. Some people are acutely aware of their own mistakes and failures. Therefore, it’s really difficult for them to accept that they are worthy of love.
I can’t tell you how many warriors I have met who have done things on the battlefield that have made them feel unworthy of being loved. Some warriors I’ve counseled feel like they are less valuable to their country after being placed in terrible circumstances on the battlefield. These warriors feel less valuable as humans because of their experiences in combat.
At times like this, I like to describe what gives human beings value in the first place. It’s not what we do that makes us valuable. It’s not the things that we’ve done that make us less valuable. Our value comes from being created in the image of God; our value is best demonstrated in how far God would go in order to pursue a relationship with us.
God’s demonstration of love is what shows humans their value. If you are experiencing difficulties being loved because of something that you’ve done, please take a moment to read this article describing what the Bible has to say about your worth to God.
I’m convinced, you are not really capable of loving until you understand what it feels like to be loved. It is because God first loved us that we are able to love God and love others according to 1 John 4:10. “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
If I could give you any gift today, it would be the gift of God’s love. When you properly understand who God is and what he’s done for you, this is the one gift that no one would ever exchange!
If you are feeling unloved or unworthy of God’s love, I want to offer you a chance to experience that love for the first time. You can turn to God through the death of his son, Jesus, in an honest prayer that sounds something like this:
Lord Jesus, I recognize that I am a sinner. I believe that you love me and want a relationship with me. Today, I turn from my sins and trust you as my savior for the first time. I’m asking you to give me a soul that loves you. Amen.
If you have followed Jesus Christ as your personal savior but you’ve since forgot how much he loves you, I want to pray for you:
Lord Jesus, please help my brother or sister trust your love today. May he or she believe that your sacrifice on the cross was the greatest demonstration of love, even when he or she feels unloveable. Amen. If you’ve made one of these simple prayers today from a sincere heart, I’d like to know about it. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Romans 5:8.
 Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), 1 Jn 4:10.