|"When I was in elementary school my maternal grandmother gave me and all her grandchildren a silver dollar and knitted woolen mittens for Christmas."|
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. Is 9:6
The celebration of Christ’s birth and the traditions of Christmas are over for most us in 2017. But the concept of giving gifts remains in our culture. The Word of the Lord remains!
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed that the Messiah would be a son given to us. This word, a prophecy hundreds of years before manifestation, was a declaration of a gift of great value given by the Father. In Isaiah 9:6, 7 God revealed the purpose and magnitude of the gift.
Centuries later Jesus declared that the Father so loved the world He ‘gave His only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (Jn. 3:16). Jesus perceived and revealed the fulfillment of the prophecy. He revealed the enduring Kingdom value of the ‘son given’, the Messiah born as a human…deposited on earth as a treasured gift bringing eternal life to those who believe in Him. He was a gift from the Father in Heaven. He was the kingdom investment by the Father in the world!
However, only a few of the Hebrew people perceived the value of the gift. Most, especially the civil and religious leaders were expecting something more practical and useful, a deliverer from Roman rule and a King to replace the Herods. The son given was not received or valued as the Father intended.
When I was in elementary school my maternal grandmother gave me and all her grandchildren a silver dollar and knitted woolen mittens for Christmas. She lived as an adult through the Great Depression farming the vast prairies of North Dakota. She understood that a silver dollar was real, durable; not flimsy paper that would diminish like a stock certificate with Wall Street perceptions of worth. No, it was tangible, enduring and indestructible; made with real silver, and precious beyond its $1 face value. The mittens were the work of her hands giving warmth and protection from the harsh environment in which she lived. They reflected the toil of investing hours of knitting, preparing the gift for each grandchild. The gifts were practical, yet more importantly a precious investment from her hands and her heart. However, to a young boy I valued neither gift to the level of my Grandmother’s investment. I saw the silver dollar simply as $1….the transactional value to buy something rather than the reflective value of my Grandmother’s heart and the silver it contained. The knitted mittens…well I was wearing insulated weather and synthetics by then, purchased at a local store. Hand-made mittens didn’t compare in my way of thinking. I only valued their usefulness, what they could do for me NOW.
So it is today, many people, even believers, do not value the depth of the Father’s heart invested in the ‘Son given’. We, like the 1st Century AD Hebrew leaders, often expect some immediate transactional value in gifts, even the gift of the Son of God. Is He useful? Can He heal me? Will He make me prosperous? Will He give me what I want when I want it? But the words of the prophet, of Jesus, and of the Apostles revealed a greater investment and purpose intended by the Father. Do you perceive the value of the gift? Do you perceive the value of the investment? Do you perceive the value of the One who gave the gift?
I encourage you as you move into 2018 to perceive the greater value in gifts given to you. See beyond the practical, usefulness of what the Father has given in your life. Perceive the durability of the precious silver in the people and things placed in your life. Perceive the work of His hands, His investment in you that offers His presence and His purposes for your life. Take value in the silver dollars and knitted mittens today.