The season of gifts. The season commemorating the greatest of all GIFTS. Who doesn't love a beautifully wrapped present? And yet . . .
Once upon a time there was a young boy. He was winsome, quick and witty. He had big, piercing brown eyes and hair. In the middle of this mop of brown hair stood a single wiry crimson and wayward hair. His hair was stiff and stubborn and protruded so far that the young boy caught it on doorways, on blankets and anything else that came near him - including other little boys. But worst of all, this stubborn, willful hair would poke him and prevent him from playing with other children, from going to birthday parties - even his own birthday party. He was miserable. But, he was also stubborn. The boy's birthday approached and his family, who loved him dearly, wanted to throw a huge party for him. They purchased a gift they KNEW he wanted and would love, wrapped it brightly, tied it with a big bow, fastened balloons to it and put it in the party room. There was only ONE condition. The boy had to agree to have the stubborn crimson hair plucked from his head "once and for all" (Heb 10:10) if he wanted to enter the party room, enjoy his celebration and open the gift.
His friends and family were excited. They were sure that the allure of a grand celebration and the gift would be enough to convince the boy to have the stubborn hair removed. They loved the boy and wanted to delight him and celebrate with him! They KNEW the gift would delight his little boy heart. They also knew what the boy needed - to have that stubborn crimson hair removed. When asked if he was ready to have the hair plucked and enjoy the party the boy crossed his arms and set his lips and shook his head. He carried on bumping into doors, poking his friends in the eye and generally being a nuisance to himself and everyone around him.
Days went by. Months went by. Cobwebs developed over the present and the balloons shrivelled and sank to the floor. And yet, the stubborn boy shook his stubborn head, furrowed his stubborn brow, stomped his stubborn feet and turned this stubborn back on the gift. He must have really loved that stubborn crimson hair. Over time, the gift was removed and the remnants of a missed opportunity were cleared away. The boy continued on with his stubborn crimson hair and he never did receive that gift carefully purchased just for him.
This is a true story. . . well, everything except for the stubborn hair part. The author of Hebrews writes in chapter 3:15 " Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts . . ." This a sober warning to those who hear about the great GIFT of salvation and turn stubbornly away leaving the gift unopened. We all know friends and relatives who have done or who are in the process of doing just that. Perhaps some of us, if the truth were known, are there right now. This Christmas season, as secularized as it is, provides yet another opportunity to receive the GIFT for ourselves and to offer the GIFT to stubborn hearts around us. It is the perfect, one size fits all GIFT of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greatest GIFT of all, Emmanuel, God with us. Available now.