By Will Osgood
The most precious gift
It was Christmas Day 1991. As most little children do, I woke up early to go downstairs to see what Santa Claus brought me. I do not recall what exactly was down there from Santa in my stocking. What I do remember is feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied.
I slowly walked upstairs with my head down feeling dejected. Probably subconsciously, I knew that I had greater desires than presents or things. There was a greater gift awaiting me that Christmas morn’.
My Dad met me as I made my way to my bedroom — me hoping, I suppose, to get another hour of sleep before the family opened presents together. Upon intercepting me he led me to his bedroom where we knelt down beside the bed. He explained the basic gospel to me: some version of the “the four spiritual laws” and how to be made right with Christ, as I recall it. We then prayed the “Prayer of Salvation” there together.
Looking back now, I cannot say with 100 percent certainty the Lord actually saved me that particular morning. But I can say He began a good work in me then, one He is still working in me today. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. It can be easy to become dejected again as if I’ve lost the gift I received. It can feel like God has finally given up on me. But then I am aided by the words of the great church reformer, Martin Luther, “Remember your baptism!”
I was eventually baptized at nine years old, and have been trying to die daily and take steps of obedience for 27 years now. I can remember my baptism in a more literal sense than Luther would have intended. Nonetheless, it was a true Christian baptism — one that calls to mind the faithfulness of God to me as His child.
Whether it’s a Christmas morning when I don’t get the present I want, or any other form of dejection I might face; or after I have sinned in the same way for the millionth time, I remember the greatest gift I could ever receive. Jesus Christ came into the world born of a virgin, Son of God, Son of Man, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the One who came to bring eternal justice and restore the cosmos unto Himself by taking death upon Himself and overcoming death through resurrection.
Ultimately, that gift is better than any I could receive. It’s the gift the world needs. Any gift received this Christmas simply will not compare. But that shouldn’t cause dejection. I’m eternally fulfilled. I’m a child of God. I’m promised an inheritance and treasures that surpass any this fading earth can surmise. The new heavens and new earth, though, will be quite the reward for patient endurance.
May I remember that Christmas morning as the time God began to work in me, as well as my baptism, to ensure I endure to the end.
Will Osgood studied at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, and is now working as a global missionary using American football and other passions of his to minister to believers and unbelievers alike.