Christmas Eve Gift

by Greg Quinn

December 24, 2004

The Quinn family has a lot of heritage and traditions that I have grown to appreciate as I get older.  While some may seem a bit quirky to those outside the circle, these traditions have helped to keep us close and united as a family through generations and many miles apart.  We have a great family, and I truly appreciate the legacy that has been handed down from generation to generation, and pray that my generation will continue the trend.

 One of these quirky elements of our family is the “Christmas Eve Gift” tradition.  For as long as I remember, one family member will call another on Christmas Eve to be the first to say the words, “Christmas Eve Gift”.  Whoever says it to the other first is due a gift for Christmas Eve.  I remember older cousins getting out of bed to make a phone call at 12:01 AM to my dad to say “Christmas Eve Gift”, and my dad having been dutifully “got”, was obligated to provide some small token gift to the one making the call.  I remember my household not answering the phone on Christmas Eve (long before caller ID) to prevent from being “got”.  Before phones were plentiful, kinfolk would walk to our home to say “Christmas Eve Gift”.  While always funny and a competition of sorts, I truly appreciate the legacy behind this tradition, and have very fond memories of Christmas Eves of long ago when the sport of “Christmas Eve Gift” was enjoyed in our family.  It’s not the gift, but the thought and the competition and the family bond that continues throughout this tradition.

Going back beyond the Quinn family tradition of “Christmas Eve Gift”, there is an ancient gift-giving tradition that began at the dawn of time, and was culminated in the greatest of all gifts approximately 2000 years ago.  As recorded in the Holy Bible in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”  Got created everything we know as mankind, from the air we breathe to each of us to all living creatures to the universe; He created it all.  When God created man with Adam, and then created Eve from Adam’s rib, it was all good.  Yet, when Satan convinced Eve to sin and go against God, and Adam deliberately followed Eve and both of them sinned, they forsook the goodness of God and placed a blot between mankind and God.  That blot, that sin, continued to grow and manifest throughout the ages.  None of us can escape this sin, or the penalty of death because of this sin.  Prophets of old, being given words by God, foretold of a coming Redeemer who would save the people from their sins, and bring a lost mankind back into good graces with a Holy God.  The talk of the Messiah, or Savior, continued for many, many years, with those having a longing to be closer to God looking for this long-awaited coming of the savior of the world.  This Messiah would once and for all redeem mankind from the penalty of sin (eternal death), and would bring mankind back into a right relationship with God.  Prophets throughout time and as recorded in the Holy Bible told of this coming Messiah who would redeem man.  This “gift” from God, this gift of salvation from the penalty of sin that no man can escape, was to be the most anticipated and valued gift ever bestowed upon mankind.  So, as recorded in the Bible and recognized to us as the Christmas story, God sent his only Son Jesus into this world to become the salvation of the world from the sins of man.  This Messiah, Jesus, is the greatest gift ever given, provided free of charge from a Holy God to a people undeserving only because of God’s love for us, to free us from the bondage of sin, and to provide for us eternal life through receipt of this wonderful gift.

 Today, this Christmas Eve, find a copy of the Bible and read the real Christmas story.  Not the story of the kid who would shoot his eye out with the BB gun, but the “real” Christmas story.  The real Christmas story is the story of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus.  Read Matthew 1:18-25.  Read Chapter 2 of Matthew.  Flip over to Luke and read Luke 2:1-20.  This is the real Christmas story, the story of the Christ-child, the Savior, born to save all mankind from our sins.

Today, receive the greatest “Christmas Eve Gift”.  The greatest gift you could ever receive is to get salvation from your sins, and a place of eternal peace with God in Heaven.  This greatest gift can only come from your acceptance that you are also a sinner, and that there is nothing you can do to save yourself.  Yet you recognize that God, through the gift of Jesus, provided everything you need for salvation.  Jesus was born as recorded in the Bible of a virgin, is the true Son of God, lived a life without sin, and died on a cruel cross as penalty for our sins.  He arose on the third day (why we celebrate Easter) to show victory over even death, and went back to Heaven at the right hand of God to make a way for us to spend eternity with God and himself in Heaven.  This “Christmas Eve Gift” is yours for the asking.  It’s just as simple as picking up the phone and saying “Christmas Eve Gift”; even simpler.  You don’t have to pick up a phone.  You don’t have to call anyone on earth.  You simply close your eyes, tell God you are sorry for your sins, accept the free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice in your place, and ask Jesus to save you from your sins and come live within you as the guiding force of your life.  Receiving the “Christmas Eve Gift” of salvation through Christ Jesus is the best gift you will ever receive.

 If you have received this gift, then give it away.  Your “Christmas Eve Gift” for today may be to call or visit a friend or family member who is downtrodden, and tell them about Jesus.  Give them the opportunity to also receive this “Christmas Eve Gift”.  In doing so, you have shared the greatest gift of all.

Today, I continue the “Christmas Eve Gift” legacy.  I have already been “got” this morning, Christmas Eve 2004, by my youngest brother, Mule.  Living in North Carolina, he called from another phone (that I would not recognize) to my office number (knowing I was working on Christmas Eve and would think it a business call) to joyfully exclaim “Christmas Eve Gift” to his oldest brother.  He “got” me.  Yet, using modern technology, I have already “got” my brothers Jeff and Boge, as I sent them an email this morning with a read receipt that said “Christmas Eve Gift”.  Technology and methods may change, but the tradition lingers.

And, more importantly, I reflect upon the true “Christmas Eve Gift” provided Greg Quinn back 2000 years ago.  On a cold night, the Savior of the world was born.  When I was 13 years of age, someone shared with me the real “Christmas Eve Gift” of salvation through Jesus Christ, and my life forever changed as I accepted this gift, and asked Jesus into my life.  While I have sinned many times since, I know that Jesus stands ready to forgive each of my wrong doings, just as He did the first time I called upon His name.  So, I reflect upon my receipt of the greatest Christmas gift.  And, I share this greatest gift with you today, through this simple note and the technology that will allow hundreds of thousands of you to read it.

 So, I say to you, “Christmas Eve Gift”.  You’ve been “got”.  It is my prayer that you receive the greatest gift ever given on this Christmas Eve, the gift of Jesus.

Greg Quinn

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