Ephesians 2:1-9 (NIV)

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.   

Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–   

DEVOTION -Kay L. Campbell

I carefully reviewed my Christmas gift-and-card list, hoping that I hadn’t missed anyone.  I know how awkward I feel when someone gives me a gift and I don’t have anything to give in return.  I admit that I usually dash off a last-minute card when I receive one in the mail from someone who isn’t on my list.

Even when someone does me a favor I find myself saying, “I owe you one.”  To be on the receiving end of a generous gesture without reciprocating is not in my nature.

Maybe that’s why I need to remind myself, especially during the Christmas season, that God’s most precious gift, Jesus Christ, was given out of the depth of God’s love for us, not because We’ve earned it and certainly not because we deserve it.  God loves us so much that God wants to be reconciled with us through the gift of Jesus Christ.  God’s unique gift is ours to accept with an open and grateful heart.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s love is the greatest gift of all.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to humbly receive the gift of your son, Jesus, and to keep gratitude in our hearts all year long.  Amen.