Gifts

The Giver God

BY NORMAN NAGEL

When the scriptures say "firstfruits" it means there are more gifts to follow. With every gift, God pushes our hands wider open to receive a still larger gift. The bother with us is that we often hold our hands open just enough for little gifts in fear that if the gifts get too big they may overwhelm us.

The Giver God

Receive The Gifts, But Don't Think It's Because God Is Santa Claus

BY DONAVON RILEY

It's hard wired into our brain. We can't help ourselves. When we imagine God's character, discuss our beliefs, and chew on the big picture questions about life, the universe, and everything else, we tend to picture God as a radiant, white-bearded Santa Claus who lives at the edge of the Milky Way.

Receive The Gifts, But Don't Think It's Because God Is Santa Claus

Who Gets the Gifts?

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

At this time of year a lot of emphasis is placed on being good. Elves on Shelves everywhere are watching our behavior and snitching to Santa, who is making up his all important list of those who have been naughty and those who have been nice. The parable above, however, sets forth something so counter to that way of thinking that we all have a very difficult time wrapping our minds around it.

Who Gets the Gifts?

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

BY RYAN COUCH

Have you ever received a gift for which you were less than thrilled, but you had to pretend you really liked it so as not to offend the giver? It is an awkward feeling, but despite your ambivalence, it is the right thing to do. When Christ gives us his gifts he is not as interested in our response as our human counterparts.

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

God's Doing For Us That Gets Done

BY DONAVON RILEY

God's doing for us that gets done is Word and Sacrament stuff. Everything else flows from His speaking to us, baptizing us, bodying and bloodying us. Jesus sees our need. He fills our need with his faithful, loving, kindness. Then we mess that up. We own up to it, confess it to Him, then say sorry.

God's Doing For Us That Gets Done

The God Who Says, “Hide!”

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

God may be all-powerful, but he has an odd way of showing it.  He tends to work his power through weakness, brokenness, even a cross. Where sinners use violence to overthrow and dominate, God uses martyrs and simple words.

The God Who Says, “Hide!”