The gift of life Christ offers is the gift of His life in us. ~~~ How does it make you feel when someone gives you an unexpected gift? Do you receive it well? Sometimes it can be hard to receive. Tis the season for gift GIVING, but if someone gives you a gift and you didn’t get them anything, it can be a bit awkward, right? But why is it? Paul in Acts 20 reminds us that Jesus did say, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”, but if we focus in on the reason for THIS season, it all comes down to a GIFT, we must freely receive. When we freely receive, we are opening ourselves to be loved, seen, adored and we trust the heart of the giver. We don’t question the motive. We humbly receive. That’s how a child receives a gift on Christmas morning, full of innocence, wonder and joy. Jesus even said in Matthew 18:3, “unless you become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Only a humble heart is open to receive the life God wants to give. Sadly pride fills the hearts of many, so there is no room for the gift of God. Receiving the love of God became more difficult to do the moment sin entered this world. You see, a lie believed in the garden, planted a seed of doubt that has been rooted in the heart of man ever since. As a result, we keep the giver of the very breath in our lungs and the giver of all GOOD gifts at arms length, while we chase after the counterfeit loves and pleasures that NEVER fully satisfy. Don’t fly through this season of hustle and bustle, buying and wrapping, giving and receiving, without kneeling before the savior of the world and unwrapping the GIFTS God so longs to give to you! He wants to give you an abundant life, full of purpose, peace, joy and adventure, covered by His love and grace. Will you receive those gifts this Christmas? That’s my focus this month at LIFEWORD.org, unwrapping the gifts God has so freely given to us. As we open and focus a bit on each one, my prayer is we won’t toss them aside, but we will fully receive each one and know God more through them. Today I begin with unwrapping the gift of LIFE. God, the creator of every living thing, gives us our very existence. Each new day you have breath in your lungs and a beat in your heart is a gift. But the gift of life doesn’t stop there, it is also something to continually unwrap and discover! God’s design and gift for us is an abundant life. John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. There is a very real battle happening right now for your life. The enemy wants to destroy it. He offers nothing more than lies wrapped in a shiny bow. The Lord wants to GIVE you an abundant life, more than you could ever ask for or imagine. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Following Jesus, walking in HIS way, is the only WAY to real life in the here and now as well as to everlasting life with the Father to come. This is not a gift you can buy for yourself. It’s one that when you understand your desperate need for it, and the great love with which it is given, you fall on your knees at the glory of it, and humbly and gratefully receive it. You see, that’s the gift of LIFE we receive! Paul makes it so clear in Galatians 2. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives IN ME! That’s MY only HOPE! The life I now live in this body, I live by faith in Jesus, who loved me and gave himself for me. That gift of grace my friends is not a gift to set aside or choose to not unwrap. It is the greatest gift - because it is the only WAY to fully LIVE. That’s the truth. I find my life when I lose it. That’s the beauty, it’s not about me. It has always been and will always be about Jesus. Unwrap the gift of Life today and maybe today for the first time ever, you will truly LIVE. I’m Lori Cline.