Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Extravagant Giving

By Max Lucado

We delight in giving our loved ones extravagant gifts, don't we? Especially at Christmas. Yes, we give gifts throughout the year- birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions-but at Christmas time, we put a little more effort into finding that extra special gift for that special person, or persons, in our lives.

An engagement ring. A family portrait. A special edition leather-bound book. A set of golf clubs. Diamond earrings. A puppy. Whatever the gift might be, we want it to be a bountiful expression of our love.

Maybe it has something to do with the lavishness of the gift that first Christmas morning, the extravagance of love that came in the form of a tiny, helpless newborn. Consider the gift for a moment, what Jesus really did. He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy stable.

He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. He could hold the universe in his palm but gave it up to float in the womb of a maiden.

He humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary's finger. The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier.

Why? Because that's what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. Your soul was more important than his blood. Your eternal life was more important than his earthly life. Your place in heaven was more important to him than his place in heaven, so he gave up his so you could have yours.

And that's what extravagant giving is all about-love, God's love, a love that knows no limits, no end. The Christmas kind of love. The type of love we are commanded to give to others: "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other" (John 13:34 NLT).

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