“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
A good definition of grace is “unmerited favor”. In other words, it is favor that we don’t deserve. It seems that many are more than willing to accept God’s grace, but unwilling to show grace to others.
We’ve probably all, at some time or another, received a gift at Christmas that deep down inside we really didn’t like. At the same time, we worry that the gifts we have chosen for others may not be liked or appreciated. When such a gift is received, do we show grace? Do we truly appreciate the effort that someone made to buy or make a gift for us? Children need to learn to appreciate all gifts even if they feel disappointment.
God did not owe us the gift of salvation, but He gave it to us anyway because He loves us. Children can be helped to be gracious about the gifts they receive if parents or others point out the effort, time, or money that was expended to provide the gift.
Is there anything more unsettling than seeing a child (or anyone else) saying unkind things about a gift in front of the giver? How inconsiderate! God expects us to show grace to others just as He shows grace to us. What right do we have to expect God’s grace to us if we are not willing to show it to others?
It would be well for parents to talk to children before gift-opening time about how they should behave. It would be good to point out the effort that goes into gift-giving. A good time to do this is when parents are helping children decide on gifts for others. It is not always easy to select the right gift and then to find the money to pay for it or the time to make it. Gifts made by children are often treasured by those who receive them, but how would the child feel if the receiver said something to show that they didn’t like it? It is a good time to remind the children of the Golden Rule. They should treat others as they want to be treated.
Let’s not neglect telling children that God’s gift is the greatest of all gifts! He gave His Son as a gift to us so that we could have a home in heaven after our time here on earth is done. After all, we are celebrating the birthday of Jesus. Shouldn’t we be giving a gift to Him? We can do that by being gracious and kind to others. “ And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)
Christmas will be much more enjoyable if all will be gracious to others.