Bonnie Alba
The Gift who keeps on giving
By Bonnie Alba
December 23, 2010

It is said that wonderful things come in small packages. Decades ago, when $100 bills were rarely seen, my husband wrapped taped a $100 bill into a piece of packing popcorn inside a small box of popcorn.

Christmas morning, I unwrapped and — futilely — searched for a gift. My husband kept assuring me that there was a gift to be found. Have you ever searched through a box of packing popcorn for something that was exactly the same size and color as all the others? Finally, after much frustration, we had to examine all, one by one, to find the one different from all the rest.

A Special Gift

Another small package arrived in the town of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Very few people were aware of his arrival. Surely other babies were born in Bethlehem that night, but this one was special. If the surrounding population had known about this gift to the world, like searching the packing popcorn, they would have had to go door-to-door seeking that one special baby.

God did reveal this event to a very few; lowly shepherds tending their sheep outside Bethlehem. An evening just like any other until "An Angel of the Lord appeared to them and the Glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified."

Reassured by the Angel, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ (Messiah) the Lord."

The Angel told them where to find this baby, "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (feeding trough)."

While the Angel was speaking, "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"

It was as if the Heavenly Host could not wait to let the whole world know of this Good News. I imagine the shepherds never looked at the starry heavens in the same way again.

The historical account of Jesus' birth is taken for granted by many Christians today. We have forgotten and forsaken the awe, the wonderment, how it all happened to ordinary people in a supernatural and extraordinary way, how Jesus' birth changed the course of mankind's history.

A World Event

Celebrated around the world with rejoicing, gladness and awe, Jesus' birthday is the hope of eternal life with God. It is the hope of being saved from eternal death. It is the hope that makes all things possible. It is the peace of God which is beyond all human reasoning.

There is no other such hope existing in this world of uncertainty today. And, so it has been throughout the centuries.

Height of the Holiday

For too many americans, the reason we celebrate Christmas becomes lost in the bustle and race to pile wrapped and ribboned presents under the tree. Our homes are decorated, inside and out. Trees are aglow with lights and ornaments, surrounded by gifts for loved ones; tantalizing aromas of baked cookies, cakes and pies fill the air, and the children are filled with anticipation. Families and friends will gather and enjoy a warm and joyful time.

Then Christmas Day, after the last gift is unwrapped, the tree is bare, and visitors have departed, there is only tomorrow, another day.

As you carry the wrappings and ribbons out to the trash can, maybe you'll look up to the heavens (if it's not cloudy) and reflect with wonder on the awesomeness of God who created all of it, from the bigness of the universe down to the smallest invisible cell of the human heart. In God's purposeful plan, because he loves us so much, he sent his divine son into the world to give us the gift of his mercy and grace.

Unlike a $100 bill that is spent on temporary things, God's priceless gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, to mankind is one of eternal value and destiny. What grace, what mercy but most of all, what love!

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

© Bonnie Alba


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Bonnie Alba

(Editor's note: Bonnie Alba passed away on February 12, 2017. You can read her obituary here.)

Bonnie Alba is a "politically incorrect" researcher-writer. Since 1995, her articles have appeared in California newspapers. Previously she served in various Department of Defense positions for over 16 years... (more)


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