For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23 nlt

When my son, Aaron, was a small tyke, his favorite toys were plastic G I. Joe figures. Every day his little red head could be found poring over his collection. After much deliberation, he picked out two to carry- one in each chubby, little hand.

For Christmas, Aaron asked for a specific G. I. Joe. The problem? Every other three-year old in our area wanted the same one. I despaired as Christmas grew closer, and none could be found.

Finally, I found it. You would have thought I\’d discovered a treasure chest full of gold. The sales clerk looked disinterested as I practically jumped up and down by the counter relating how relieved I was to have found it.

I could hardly wait to see Aaron\’s blue eyes light up when he opened his special gift. It only took a few seconds for him to rip the colorful paper from the packaging. Of course, the big hug and the enthusiastic “Thank you, Mommy!” made the hunt worthwhile. Then as quickly as he opened it, he moved on to his next gift. He had no idea of the time and effort it took to find what he requested.

During the Christmas season, we hustle about trying to get the right gift for each person on our list. It warms my heart when someone opens a gift from me and exclaims, “You know I need this very thing!”

God looked at humankind thousands of years ago and knew exactly what we needed. In the same way someone exclaims over an earthly gift, God Himself along with the angels in heaven rejoice when we see the need for the Gift He sent- His Son, Jesus. I can imagine my heavenly Father\’s delight when someone exclaims, “I need you, Jesus. I accept the gift of salvation.” Luke 15:10- “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

In the days before Christmas, Aaron had asked for the special toy several more times without knowing the gift had already been purchased. Before I accepted Christ, He already paid for my salvation through His death on the cross over two thousand years ago. When I was nine years old, my spiritual eyes opened and I realized Jesus was just what I needed.

Our salvation is not based on what we can do for our God, but what God has already done for us. Christianity is the only religion based on this foundation. When we hunt for that special gift for our loved ones, let\’s remember the greatest Gift of all- the salvation Jesus paid for with His death and resurrection. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”- John 3:16.

Have you accepted the greatest gift?

Prayer: God, I thank You for the greatest present of all – salvation through Jesus Christ. Help me to remember amidst the busyness of the holiday the true meaning and reason we celebrate – Jesus\’ birth. In Jesus\’ Name I pray, Amen.

Children's author and inspirational writer, Donna J. Shepherd, looks at everyday life and finds God's fingerprints everywhere. From bird watching to the Beatitudes, Donna's writing touches the heart with wisdom and humor while feeding the mind with daily portions of God's Word. She is currently a columnist for The Dabbling Mum and a staff poet for The Inspiration Station. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Reminisce Extra, Just Between Us, Guideposts for Kids, Penwomanship, Sisters in the Lord, and many more. Her devotionals appear in Daily Grace for Women, Devotional Reflections to Nourish Your Soul (Honor Books), and Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (Warner Books).