When will we open our gifts
When Will We Open Our Gifts (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love)
During this time of year, Christmas is on the hearts and minds of many. There is a certain excitement that shines through eyes of both child and adult. Some are excited about reconnected with family and friends, while others are just anticipating a gift list fulfilled.
Many are just happy for a moment in time to vacate from the chaos commonly called a schedule. The commercialism of the season is a powerful distraction from four gifts that can be afforded by anyone. In this Advent season, we reflect upon the four virtuous gifts given to us by Jesus. Those blessed gifts are Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
If there ever was a time to unwrap Hope, it is now. Too many hearts are re-gifting the pains and sufferings of yesterday and placing bows of hopelessness on every box. Romans 5:2-4 teaches that “We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.”
Even in the disappointments of days past, our latter days shall be greater. Not because of man, but because of the Savior that we celebrate during this season.
We need to un-wrap the gift of Peace that we have placed on the top shelf in the closet that we rarely open. Have we not opened Peace because some assembly is required? 1 Peter 3:11 states that we “must turn from evil and do good” and that we “must seek peace and pursue it.”
Thus, we must be intentional in turning from our sinful nature and doing good to our neighbors as well as ourselves. This is a special type of peace that we must not only seek, but must tirelessly pursue.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King. Is every heart preparing room for the King? If so, then those hearts should not also have room for hatred and division. If the gift of Joy is accompanied by a celebration of someone else’s pain or suffering, then that gift is counterfeit.
The authentic and certified gift of Joy is everlasting. Joy celebrates with the celebratory and mourns with those in mourning. True Joy is not contrary to the love of God.
Finally, there is one gift left to open. That gift is Love. Love is a precious gift that is sincere and does not harm. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 teaches that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Imagine if everyone opened up Love on Christmas morning. What a wonderful world this would be.
Do you hope for a better tomorrow? Do you seek peace in what seems like a world of chaos? Do you seek everlasting joy? Do you seek a love that never fails? You can have it. Just open your gifts from Jesus. Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.
(Rev. Steven L. Evans is a pastor and lives in Clinton.)