If you are like me, with Christmas right around the corner, you are racking your brain thinking of gift options for your loved ones. What gift would be the most useful and beneficial for their lives right at this moment? Maybe something practical; something to help their lives; something to keep them warm. In case you have a mental block, just turn to your local newspaper with all those additional advertisements. Or turn on the television, and you will also get many ideas.

But may I add one caution: Don’t be in a rush. It could cost you. Don’t be like the lady who had a circle of friends for whom she really wanted to buy Christmas gifts. But time had slipped away; it was so busy at work, she just wasn’t able to get to the store to purchase those gifts. Time was running out. So, not too many days before Christmas, she decided to give up on the gift idea and just buy everybody the same beautiful Christmas card. She went to the local gift store, hurriedly went through the now picked-over stack of cards and found a box of 50 — just exactly what she wanted. She didn’t take time to read the message; she just noticed that there was a beautiful gold and floral design on the front of each card, and she thought, “That’s perfect.” So, she signed all of them “With all my love” and sent them out.

As New Year’s Day approached, she finally had time to go back to the leftover stack of cards and read one. She was shocked as she opened the card and read, “This Christmas card is just to say, a little gift is on its way.” To her amazement, Christmas wasn’t over; to some degree, it was just starting. There is a lot of wisdom in that little story regarding what not to do. Hopefully, you have time to at least read the card and put significant thought into the gifts that you give.

We are not alone in this endeavor. The God of all creation, in his divine way, thought about what would be best for you and me. What he brought forth is, without a doubt, the ultimate Christmas gift anyone can receive — God gave Jesus. Yes, a person — the very reason we celebrate, even to saying “Merry Christmas.”

This ultimate gift is profound. Jesus has been received by some and, sadly, rejected by others. But the gift is profound because of who Jesus is and what he did for you and me. God is not silent on the intention of his gift. In his great announcement to Joseph, he said in Matthew 1:21, “She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”.

That truth is on the heart of the giver. God sent Jesus to save us from our sins. This is the real beauty of Christmas and the benefit of the gift. As we pull back the veil of our hearts, the greatest need any of us has is for God to forgive us of our sins. The benefits are myriad and never end: forgiveness, grace, mercy, eternal life and peace. Yes, peace with God. Why? Because of Jesus. He is Emmanuel — “God with us.” He is our only mediator and redeemer.

It is very clear why God gave the ultimate gift of Jesus and why you and I need him. Jesus Christ is the only one able to remove your sin. That is what he saves you from — the consequences of your sin. He is your only Lord and Savior. Beloved, this is the heart of Christmas. We receive this gift through faith, through belief in Jesus. So why don’t you unwrap it today. May you humble yourself and rightly see yourself as you truly are — a sinner (By the way, I am right there with you.) — and may you receive Jesus.

May this Christmas be one of heart-searching and truth. May you understand why Jesus had to come, and may you receive him as your ultimate gift. Merry CHRISTmas!

Dr. Bear Morton shepherds Christ’s flock at Magic Valley Bible Church. Contact the church at www.mvbible.org.