LOVE1I got to thinking about gifts we are given, no, not those birthday or Christmas gifts, but the gifts we are given by God.  At the top of my “gifts” list is the gift of children and as we get older the gift of grandchildren.  Watching them grow from crawling on the floor to being that cute little second grader who writes you the note that says “I love you sooooo much, you’re the best.” Or when they reach the age that they realize that practicing the piano has made parents and grandparents sit up and take notice of their “gift.”

Don’t you think that being born in the United States is a most wonderful  gift?  We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of choice nearly the best of everything. How would you feel if you had been born in Swaziland where the life expectancy is 31.8 years…..think of it most of us would not be here today.  Where we live is surely a gift.

We live in a country where communication is second to none in the world.  News broadcasts 24/7, 100’s of TV channels on every subject and kind of entertainment. Radio stations that broadcast from constant music to constant chatter. Think about those countries where the state controls what is read or is hear.

The ability to communicate is in itself a gift. That makes me think about the ability to hear is also a  precious gift.  Those of us that are slowing getting hard of hearing know what a gift being able to hear is.  A friend of mine who passed away many months ago, at the age of 96 was extremely hard of hearing, yet attended church faithfully each week.  I remember sitting  next to him in church  a couple of years ago and after worship asked him how did he enjoy the service. “Didn’t hear a word of it,” he said, “except the music, but I came to worship God and so it was fine”. The ability to hear is surely a gift.

How about the gift of reason? 2 plus 2 equals 4 and it’s the same in Chinese.  2加2等于fourn. Our ability to reason, isn’t that a special gift? No other God created animal can do that reasoning and communication.

My church is a special gift to me. A place not only to worship God but to be with friends. An isn’t friendship a special gift? Years ago when our business was wiped out by a major flood, I was standing in the middle of the muck in our offices after the flood we were given a quote of $15,000.00 by service master to clean out our portion of the building. My heart sank to the floor. We just couldn’t afford that. The following Sunday at church one of the Sunday school classes asked  “How can we help you’? Ten days later, with the aid of 75 volunteers our offices were empty and ready for the floors to be torn up. Friends, especially Christian friends do that for each other. A true statement of Christian friendship.  My definition of friendship  is when you call a friend in the middle of the night and say, come get me, I need your help and they don’t say “what’s the problem” they just say, “where are you?” I’ll be right there!

But the greatest of all the gifts is the gift of LOVE.

Leo Buscaglia the famed psychologist, who wrote the book on Love, said that the word Love is a limitless word and a limitless concept. Love is a gift that it’s a gift that you can give to others. The gift of sharing.

Do you know that one of the first words children learn is the word NO, they learn it long before they learn the word YES, Wonder why?  I wonder what this world would be like if we changed the first words that we spoke to children were “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

You see God took all these Gifts and rolled them into one gift for each of us.

The gift of a child……his only begotten son

The gift of math, simple math  1 life for many   1 life for all   1 to trillionth power

The gift of communication,through the parables taught by Jesus, through the written word in the bible.

The gift of hearing…..the preaching of the word by Jesus.

The gift of music, the thousands of hymns written, sung and played for us.

The gift of the church… by the disciples of Christ who followed Christ even unto their own death, preaching the good news.

The gift of friendship, from the millions of worshipers who attend church weekly.

The gifts of talents…..musical, preaching, teaching sharing where we use our talents to praise him

All of those gifts rolled into one act of love.

RD Long, the wondrous  psychologist said

We think much less than what we know,

We know much less than what we love

We love much less that what there is and to this precise extent we are much less than what we are.

It’s been said that Love costs us nothing, to either give or receive so you have nothing to lose, by either giving love or receiving it

Buscaglia said the day is wasted if we don’t laugh, learn or find something to love.

God loved us so much He gave His son for us… addition He gave us life

Think about it…He gave us life, so His gift to you was life, and eternal life,  and what you do with this life, that has been given to you, is YOUR gift to God.