What was the best gift you ever got at Christmas? One year my wife gave me an old, ratty, used soft rifle case. And I was thankful. I think she would agree with that. Turns out she had also gotten me a rifle to put in it as well, but she gave it to me separately. That was a pretty memorable gift.
Probably most memorable gifts are something we got when we were kids. Don’t those seem to be better gifts? We anticipate them more. We aren’t as jaded and cynical about Christmas when we are children.
In Ephesians 1:20-23, Paul is trying to communicate how much God the Father thinks of Jesus. And because He thinks so much of Jesus, God wants us to think a lot of Jesus too. In fact, what we learn here is God gave His best gift to us.
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Eph 1:22-23 (ESV)
So Paul is saying that God made Jesus head over all creation and also gave Jesus to the church. All human authorities are put down by force—they are under His feet. But His relationship to the church is not as conqueror, but as a gift from the Father.
So we could read it as, “And he put all things under his feet and gave [Jesus] … to the church….”
“So what?” is maybe what you’re thinking. But isn’t it true that the gifts we give say something about us?
My family had some pretty humble Christmases as I was growing up. I don’t remember getting more than two or three gifts at Christmas. Now maybe I remember things as slightly more difficult than they actually were, but I think that’s accurate. I averaged two, maybe three small presents from my parents at Christmas.
Now that says something about my parents; it says they didn’t have a whole lot of money. It doesn’t say something bad, but it does say that we were poor as I was growing up. Maybe it also says that they tried to keep Christ in Christmas for us kids. My parents would tell us what they had budgeted for Christmas and then they would give half of that amount to Jesus in an offering at church. That says something about them too. Something wonderful.
So our gifts do say something about us, don’t they? You know this. Isn’t there a difference between the gifts you give your children and the gift you bring for the white elephant gift exchange at the company party? You don’t wrap up the kitchen trash for your children to open on Christmas morning. You give them something valuable. And you give them more valuable gifts than you contribute to the white elephant gift exchange, right? When I have a white elephant gift, it’s typically something I grabbed off a dusty shelf in the basement as I was running around trying to find something at the last minute. It doesn’t get my full attention or effort. I don’t think about it ahead of time. That probably says something about me too. But with your family you put in more effort. The gift means something.
The gift that God gave the church means something too. What’s the best gift that God could have given to the Church? Is there a better one? When God was looking for the best gift that He could give to believers, there was only one choice—Jesus.
Jesus is God’s best gift. He loves His Son and wants you and me to love Him too. So He gave Jesus to the church. God didn’t give us some cast off gift. No, God gave the very best gift He had. And while giving Jesus does show that God loves the church, it shows even more that God loves Jesus.
The gift of His Son says something great about God. He is generous. He is gracious. And he gives the best gifts. He gave the only gift that can satisfy our thirst—Jesus Christ (Jn 7:37).
Are you thankful for the best gift?