When I say that gift giving begins with God I refer specifically to God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Besides at Christmas, His Church celebrates two other times of Godís giving.

At Christmas, the familiar John 3:16 passage is fulfilled. No more precious gift of love could the Father give except that of His only begotten Son. He is given in the form of an infant, approachable, non-threatening, and relatable.

In the most holy time of the Church we observe the second gift. Jesus, the Son of God, gives Himself on the cross on Good Friday and is raised again on the third day, Easter Sunday.† In John 10:17, He tells us why the Father gave Him to the world. ďFor this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.Ē †Note that His life was not taken from Him. He willingly gave it. We needed that Gift to know that our failure to obey Godís holy demands is atoned for by the only Holy sacrifice available: God Himself in human form.†

††††††† As difficult as that is to believe and accept, much less understand, God gave a third gift to empower us to embrace what we cannot comprehend and to comfort us when dismayed by doubts.† On the Festival of Pentecost the Church celebrates the gift from the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit.† The Gospel of John shares the promise of Jesus, ďThe Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 14:26

So as you consider the giving of gifts to one another in this Christmas season, donít feel like you have to give all the gifts only at Christmas. We observe Godís gifts given at other times of the year as well.† In fact, since God is always giving the gifts of love, sacrifice, and comfort why donít we give those gifts year around?† The world needs them.†

Tom Konz is the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church.