3Let’s bless God who is also the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who blessed us with every spiritual benefit in the realms of heaven by giving us his anointed one. 4He chose us before the foundation of the world to be his people, part of the body of his anointed one, and to be holy and blameless before him, completely loving. 5He decided ahead of time that we would be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ, as he desired and willed. 6He did this to underline the splendor of his grace, that he gave us graciously in his beloved son. 7In him we obtained released from captivity to sin by means of his blood, forgiveness of our transgressions according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished on us with all wisdom and insight. 9He made us understand the mystery of his will, according to his desire which he determined ahead of time in Jesus. 10This was all a plan to be put into effect when the time was completely right, bringing everything into unity in Christ, not only everything in heaven but everything on the earth. — Ephesians 1:3-10 (my paraphrase)
You might think I’ve gone over to the dark side and begun all the Christmas music, shopping, decoration, and other activities before Thanksgiving. Of course, we’re very close to that time. As soon as Thursday is over, very early in the morning on Friday, people will definitely be focused on Christmas. So I’m not that early!
When I was young, we’d put all the presents under the tree. Presents came from various relatives, and would vary from envelopes, possibly containing money, to large packages that could barely fit under the tree. I would go look around and find all the packages.
Now there’s a funny thing here, or may not so odd. I didn’t just look until I found one package under the tree for me, and then go away satisfied. I wanted to make sure that I saw everything. Our family opened the presents on Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve, and when it was time to pass out the presents, I would already know which were mine, and I’d wait to see each one and have the chance to open it. I didn’t want to miss anything.
God did his Christmas shopping before there was even a world and before there were any people here to receive the present. He predestined us for adoption. He knew there would be people here that he would choose to make his sons and daughters. In his Christmas shopping for them he planned a complete package.
I think it’s appropriate to think about that package before Thanksgiving, because it is something for which we can be thankful. Now sometimes we look at one thing God has done for us, we thank him for it, and then we run on out and forget about the rest. It’s a bit like grabbing one present from under the tree, and forgetting about all the rest.
Let’s look at some of these gifts from God:
- His love for us
- The opportunity to be full of love
- Release from captivity to sin
- Understanding of God’s mystery
- Being part of God’s plan
I’m sure you can find more as you read, study, and listen during this Christmas season. Truly, let’s bless God!
(For those interested, the scripture today came from the lectionary Season of Creation 1C.)