He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:10-12
During Christmas, it’s better to receive than give.
No, that first sentence wasn’t a mistake. Sound shocking? Greedy? Maybe even anti-Christian? Yes, yes and yes … if we are talking about gifts under a Christmas tree. But everything changes when we begin talking about gifts sent from heaven. In that aspect, it is far better to receive than to give. Here’s why …
Many people drift into thinking of Christmas as a special, magical month when folks generously spend money on others. Some give to the less fortunate; others give anonymously; most give to family members, coworkers and friends. The phrase, “it’s better to give than receive” is used repeatedly as an important Christmas theme. Some might go so far as to think they have earned their way out of trouble with God because of their generous, greed-less giving around the holidays.
Don’t be mistaken. There is absolutely a time and a place for generous giving – the kind that is from the heart and without any strings attached. In many scenarios, it certainly is better to give than receive. After all, “the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”(Acts 20:35) But all our greed-less giving is not enough to earn our way out of the debt of sin that we have with God. We cannot give enough to free us from that debt. But the good news is that God gives us a heavenly gift to rescue us. In regard to his gift to us, it is indeed better to receive than to give.
Our Bible reading today is about Jesus. Look again at these verses: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Jesus came all the way from heaven to rescue the world from sin and death. He made a bigger Christmas sacrifice than all the rest of us put together. However, when he arrived, he was snubbed, ignored, rejected and despised. Many people didn’t think they needed a Savior. They refused God’s gift from heaven.
But the reading of God’s Word goes on: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Not everyone turned away from him. Some took him at his word and believed him when he declared himself to be the Savior of the world. In faith, they received Jesus as God’s heavenly gift. To those precious people, Jesus gave the right to be the children of God, and still does.
This Christmas season enjoy giving to others. But always remember that regarding the heavenly gift of Jesus, it is better to receive than give.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are my best Christmas gift. Open my heart to receive you and rejoice in you as my Savior. Amen.