We think about them a lot at Christmas. Giving. Getting.
Who doesn’t love a present? And not just any present but the how-did-you-know-that-this-is-exactly-what-I-have-been-longing-for sort of present???
This kind of gift can only come from the heart of someone who knows you well, who knows all about that desire in your heart and then goes to the trouble of locating it, paying for it or spending the time making it, then carefully wrapping it up in festive paper, and finishing it off with the perfect bow!
And then…waits! Hunkering down in anticipation of the moment: when you yank off the bow, tear away the paper, and lift the lid. Rewarded by the smile on your face, the sparkle in your eyes, the tiny gasp of delight as you look inside and discover…that the very yearning of your heart is now satisfied.
What prompts a giver to give? Is this learned behavior? Who thought this up?
After a brief online query to see what the average Joe whose brain goes down these kinds of rabbit trails might say, I found my “Joe!” A Scotsman (with a very Santa-esque beard by the way), a retired computer analyst, who describes himself as “widely read on history and science.” Good enough for me! He summed up his research on why people give gifts with this statement:
“It seems basic to human nature. So much so that it is taken for granted and no one bothers to make arguments for its merits.”
Deep enough. I’ll go with that. I doubt that the average Joe would disagree.
So…human nature is the answer. Something that just is. Sort of like Mother Nature, which just popped into existence one day. It seems we’re very comfortable with nature being the explanation for many things. But not so comfortable when answers might point us to something or someone bigger than nature.
Hmm…the Bible tells us that God so loved the world (or you could say human nature) that He gave us his Son. (John 3:16) Like maybe God knew that his Son would be the gift that would meet the deepest longing of our hearts?
Yeah, right…most of that human nature happily skips right over the Son and moves on to Santa, Frosty, Christmas trees and hot chocolate – the stuff that immediately gratifies, satisfies and indulges those human natures of ours. Let’s just leave that supernatural, weird stuff in the closet this year, shall we?
But the interesting twist is that the supernatural, is in fact, VERY natural after all! Creation was a supernatural event. That is, it took place outside of the natural realm. That which we consider natural is a result of something supernatural!
This fact begs the question: is there anything else that exists outside of the natural realm? Specifically, is there a master Architect out there? Scientists with all their years of scrutinizing, studying, and investigating agree that this universe had a beginning, a supernatural beginning. Hmmm…you don’t hear a lot of about that.
So back to John 3:16 …or maybe John 1… “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made and without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and this life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it. … He came into the world and though the world was made through him the world did not recognize him. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." And skipping ahead to John 3:16….we learn this was all prompted by love - the love of the Creator for his creation.
Merry Christmas, human nature! Go ahead, take off the bow, lift the lid, and treasure the gift. It was designed with you in mind.