When the holy child was born in a rustic setting near the shepherds' fields in Bethlehem, few knew that heaven's greatest GIFT had come down to the earth. Mary wrapped "the gift" in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. Approximately 33 years later, Roman soldiers rudely and cruelly unwrapped "the gift," stripping Him of His clothing and subjecting the Son of God to humiliation and torture. But it was all the unfolding of a plan:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." (John 3:16)
The Everlasting Father gave the best He had. He gave His only Son. He gave precious, sinless blood. No greater love could have been expressed. No greater sacrifice could have been made. No greater gift could have been given. But the generosity of heaven had only just begun.
Mike Shreve, best-selling author of 12 books including 65 Supernatural Promises From God for Your Child and Powerful Prayers for Supernatural Results (from which this article is adapted), has been involved in full-time ministry and evangelism since 1971, sharing the gospel around the world. His passion is to see New Testament Christianity in the earth, the release of God's glory, the manifestation of His gifts and the fulfillment of His promises. He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Cleveland, Tenn., with their two children.
Forty days after the stone rolled away, the risen Savior "ascended on high"—and not for His own well-being, but to receive "gifts for men" (Psalm 68:18 KJV). How amazing! Usually great liberators are showered with gifts from the grateful masses; instead, this heaven-sent Liberator promised to pour out numerous gifts on those who prayerfully call upon His name. In the New Testament Paul explained this prophecy:
And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints . . . till we all come . . . unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 KJV)
So the King of kings gifted the world with empowered representatives who would share liberating truth with the multitudes. But once again, the Gift-giver was only getting started. Before He left the world He confided to His followers:
"...All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18)
Then He promised to transfer the gift, instructing them to:
"...Tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
It entered the upper room like a wind-swept fire as 120 were immersed in the power of the Spirit—receiving power over sin, power over satanic spirits, power over the flesh, power over sickness, power to witness, power to change the world and power to ultimately conquer even the curse of death.
Yet this was no mere solitary gift. Like a pomegranate containing many seeds, all encased in a reddish gel, so this "gift of power" contained a multiplicity of associated gifts—each one of them, purchased by and "encased in" the precious blood of the Lamb, such as:
THE GIFT OF GRACE—"But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Ephesians 4:7 MKJV).
THE GIFTS OF SALVATION AND FAITH—"For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8 MKJV).
THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS—"For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ" (Romans MKJV).
THE GIFT OF PEACE—"My peace I give to you . . . ." (John 14:26).
THE GIFT OF JOY—"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11).
THE GIFT OF GOD'S WORD—"For I have given to them the words which You have given Me" (John 17:8).
THE GIFTS OF GLORY, PERFECTION AND ONENESS WITH THE FATHER—"And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one, I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one . . ." (John 17:22-23).
THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT—"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE—"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD" (Romans 6:23 KJV)
How should we react to such abundant generosity from God? Every day of the Advent season we should look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus, and the final gifts of the resurrection of the dead, the glorification of our bodies and the restoration of this world to a paradise state. We should also contemplate these things until we are filled with worshipful awe, often echoing Paul's conclusion:
Thank God for his gift that is too wonderful for words!
(2 Cor. 9:15 CEV)