Armodoxy for Today
The Jesus Gift
You’re at the Great Banquet (Luke 14). It’s a celebration. It’s a table set in the Kingdom. And now you realize that a banquet such as this must have a purpose. It does. It’s to celebrate the Kingdom of God. And the guest of honor is Jesus Christ.
Imagine being invited to a celebration for the Lord. Actually, you don’t need to imagine anything, the celebration of the Lord’s birth, or nativity, takes place at Christmas, and as we will eventually understand, it’s not limited to the day of Christmas. It is customary, courteous and in good taste to share a gift with the honoree. What gift could you possibly give Jesus? Trust me, there is nothing on Amazon, in a catalog, or anywhere that falls into the Jesus-gift category. Fortunately, Jesus has given us his wish list for to celebrate his birthday. It appears as a preface to the Great Banquet parable.
Jesus says, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
There it is. It’s the Jesus-gift. Once you realize you’re at the Table of the Lord, life and immortality are given as gifts to you. Life and life eternal, is a gift for which you have absolutely no way of putting a price tag on it. It is indeed priceless and impossible to payback, unless you do exactly what Jesus asks us to do, that is, to give a gift to those who have no way of paying you back. Did you catch the specific list of people mentioned by Jesus? He said, to offer an invitation to the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind. This is the same group which is identified as outcasts by the Parable of the Banquet.
Jesus could not spell it out any clearer, the greatest gift we can give Jesus for the celebration of his birth, is the gift he requests: do good to others, do to those who have no way to pay you back or return the favor.
This goes against everything we’re accustomed to do during the Christmas season, but this is the true gift of Christmas. In this gift we understand that the measure of love for God is based on our ability to love and care for one another. Christmas giving begins with the acknowledgement of Jesus’ Birth as a gift to us, and to share the joy by bringing goodness to others, especially the ones who have no way of returning the favor. The orgins of Christian gift giving stems from this simple understanding that the only way to acknowledge and thank God for the awesome gift of life is to share ourselves with other.
Christmas is now in our sights. Purpose and meaning are now coming into play as we move on with our Advent Journey.
We therefore pray, Lord, we thank you for the gift of life. We prepare ourselves for Christmas by opening our hearts to one another. Help me to share my love with others with no other expectation than the satisfaction of fulfilling Your Will. May I give to others, in the same spirit with which You have given to us and may my gratitude be expressed in the offerings I give to those in need. Amen.