God is Really Hard to Buy For
December 6, 2017 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Christmas season is upon us with all the consumer hoopla that it brings. Christmas shopping has reached colossal proportions. The National Retail Federation and other tracking entities’ projections for holiday sales in the U.S. this year are to top $1,000,000,000,000. That’s one trillion dollars. (I rounded up and left off the cents). Presumably, you will be contributing to this projected amount.
Nowadays, many know well in advance what they are going to give someone else because the intended recipient made their wishes for a particular kind of gift well-known, subtly or otherwise. Or, we just ask what they want. But did you ever have one of those people on your Christmas gift list who is simply too hard to buy for? They either have everything they could ever want or have the cashola to buy whatever they think they need any time of the year. They just don’t need to wait for the Christmas gift giving season.
However, the market economy being what it is, there are always thought-provoking ideas for presents for those hard-to-buy-for people. If you’ve reached a dead-end for a choice Christmas present, stop beating your head with that mistletoe, put a cold compress on it and chomp down a Tylenol spiced candy cane while you forget about that boring Partridge in a Pear Tree. There’s relief! For instance:
- Now here’s something cool! At xperiencedays.com you can purchase a Formula 2000 Racecar Driving Experience. For a cool $575 you give the person an opportunity to “suit up, strap in, and drive a Formula 2000 racecar. This 5-Star Rated Driving Experience begins at the Racetrack of their choice, with instructions, a practice driving session, review of safety flags and racing etiquette, and finally two exhilarating 20-minute track sessions, with performance feedback. For that person who cannot resist pooh-poohing those annoying speed limit signs on our nation’s highways and byways here’s the perfect gift!
- At Uncommongoods.com you can go from “Fireball to Rollerball.” They sell a Meteorite Pen and ask the question, “when was last time you held a 4.5 billion-year-old piece of the universe in your hand?” For most of us, not lately. Inspired from the Chelyabinsk meteorite entering the Earth's atmosphere in 2013, it features the slick rollerball pen with a cap that supposedly has a fragment of that famous meteorite. The company waxes with the statement, “The result is a stellar writing instrument that holds a reminder of our place in the dynamic dance of the cosmos.” (Personally, I wouldn’t mind it if it could make my chicken scratch legible while I waltz around!)
- Location, location, location! At Lunarland.com you can purchase an acre of land on the moon. Yes, on the moon! Lunar Land supposedly has a legal trademark and copyright for the sale of extraterrestrial property” within the confines of the solar system.” (Hmm, such small vision, don’t you think?) In this “Celestial Real Estate Agency” the Standard package for 1 acre is at $29.99 and on up, through the Premium and Deluxe packages, arriving at 20 acres for $249.99. (Ground control to Major Tom: we forgot to inform you about the HOA fees if you decide to build!)
- Now for the person who has everything but wants to be more “down to earth?” At Bcom you can buy them a small plot of land in Ireland for $49.99 (yes, that’s the price!) in the timeless Irish countryside and “own a piece of Ireland.” Included for every plot is a personalized Certificate of Ownership, a Deed of Assurance, photographs, and, of course, directions since Ireland is famous for poor signposting. Well, the kicker is that it’s only one square foot in size. So what. Who needs all that mowing anyway? Now, there are rules that must be adhered to according to the Deed of Assurance when you visit your plot. I’m just guessing but you’re probably prohibited from building any stone walls to separate you from the one square foot size plot of your neighbor. And, most likely, leprechauns have a right of easement.
So there you have it for that difficult person to buy for this Christmas season.
But have you thought about what you would shop for as a Christmas present to God the Father? What could you give Him? It’s axiomatic that there’s obviously nothing He needs since He created all that exists and already owns it, including you and me. Whew…talk about a person who’s hard to buy for?
No worries. There was a “Fall Sale” in the aftermath of the first parents’ disobedience and the consequential breach of unhindered fellowship with God that we got stuck with as well. (Thanks guys!) In light of this theological point, God the Father already made the decision to purchase His own “gift.” It was a gift so dear to Him that He set the price tag immensely steep so that only He had the means to buy it or, rather, buy it back. It was, and continues to be, humanity…us…you…me. This is what God the Father wanted for Christmas. And He “gifted” it to Himself by wrapping it with the body and blood of His Son. The ribbon we’re so accustomed to seeing on a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift was, indeed, a Cross. The price tag was Jesus’ sacrifice on that Cross for the gift of you and me. Yes, there was a cost even to God. A price had to be paid to preserve God’s justice while maintaining His love.
It’s us God wanted before there was a Christmas; a need for a Christmas. After all, He did create us to bring Him glory by spreading His glory throughout the world. And that’s what He still wants now as we celebrate Jesus Christ’s advent leading up to Christmas. Those who believe the Gospel are God’s precious gift to Himself still. (John 17:24)
God is, without a doubt, the most difficult Person to go Christmas shopping for. Yet, a peculiar thing took place when God bought His own present in the “spirit of Christmas.” Here’s the doozy. What happened was that having to send His Son to die on the Cross for your sin in order to rescind the sentence, and restore unhindered fellowship with Him, also makes you a most difficult person to buy for. However, unlike God, it’s not because you have the means to buy anything you want for yourself. Au contraire! Rather, it’s because you have nothing to offer for the price tag that God has set—a sinless offering of a perfectly sinless, righteous, person to satisfy God’s penalty for that thorny thing that our first parents stuck us with--- a sin nature.
God loves to exchange Christmas gifts. However, it’s a divine exchange in which God is the only gift giver. He gave Himself us because of His great love for us. In return He gave His Son to us and the very faith to believe so that God has us.
“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17; NIV84)
Father, thank you for the gift you gave to yourself, and thereby have also given to us who believe in your Son Jesus Christ as the greatest gift that could ever be given in all creation and which we celebrate during Advent. Thank you for the self-sacrificing pattern of giving ourselves as gifts to others. Merry Christmas!
Dave Maniquis is a Gospel Partner at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.