With each criterion we get closer to being able to judge a so-so gift from the great gift, a way of determining what the BEST GIFT EVER really means. As you think about gifts that stick with you most of the time the greatest gifts:
Requires Sacrifice—What instantly comes to mind is the story the Gift of the Magi-where a poor young husband and wife each sacrifice something they highly value to get something for the other. Jim, sacrifices his most cherished possession, his grandfather and father’s golden watch…Della sacrifices her cherished beautiful brown locks. The author O. Henry summed up his decree: “And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.” Thomas A. Kempis-“A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.”
Sacrifice becomes a standing of our value in the eyes of the other person. (1 John 4:9-10) 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Even before the cross, Jesus sacrificed for us: Eternally living outside of time and space to enduring the agony of being bound, the all-powerful word was forced to learn each word as a baby, perfectly and fully God to suddenly also fully man, from at peace with the Father to taking the punishment befitting others, creator suddenly subject to the laws of creation.It is the earthly parallels to Christ that cause people still to marvel, remember, and draw close. Like the story of Jordan Rice, ran internationally, CNN recounted the story from Queensland, Australia. The car he was riding in was caught in a massive flood, in the back seat he sat with his brother, and their mom Donna tried to keep them calm and maneuver the vehicle. Before they knew it the car was out of control being taken down the street, as the water rose and flooded into the car. First responders were close by and set out to rescue the family. With some rope bystanders were about to grab Jordan when he told them instead to take his younger brother. They relented and took the younger brother, promising to come back for the mom and Jordan, but then a huge wave of water crashed into the car and it was too late. They were gone, more victims of Mother Nature. What’s astounding about the story of Jordan Rice is not just that he put his brother first, but was what family quickly revealed—Jordan was deathly afraid of water and didn’t know how to swim.
It is the heart of John 3:16—That God’s love led to give to us rather than to give up on us! It is where God shows us that he isn’t just willing to be strong for us, but he is to allow himself to be weak for us as well.