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Ann Farabee column: The good gifts

By Ann Farabee

This season we are living in — just keeps on giving us more reasons to frown — and to smile.

I prefer the days that give me reasons to smile. As I was waiting for my groceries to be delivered to my car at Walmart, a father dressed in mud-covered work clothes was leading his three children to their car. They followed him dutifully, smiling broadly, for they each carried a rather large box with a toy in it.

The joy on their faces clearly indicated that access to these gifts was a blessing — and carrying them was not a burden. Neither was their desire to follow in their father’s footsteps as they kept their eyes fixed on him, while walking through the parking lot.

It was a beautiful thing to watch.

I wondered.

Did they ask their father to buy them the gifts?

Probably.

I believe the father was just being their father.

Loving his children and wanting to give them good gifts.

I totally understood.

Matthew 7:11 says that if we, as evil as we are, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?

It reminded me of the love of our heavenly father for us — we are his children. As we follow him, we hold on with joy to the indescribable and unspeakable gifts he has given us:

The gift of God is salvation — Ephesians 2:8 says that by grace we are saved through faith, not of ourselves: it is the gift of God.

The gift of God is eternal life — Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Who can give the gift of salvation?

Who can give the gift of eternal life?

Only God.

We do not deserve it. We cannot earn it. It cannot be bought or sold.

We just have to accept it — for it is the gift of God.

The three children that day were happy. I saw it in their faces. They knew they held something special that their hearts longed for. I did not see them open their gifts that day, but I did spend time thanking God for his gifts to me:

Oct. 15,1967 — The gift of salvation.

Then, now and forever — The gift of eternal life.

John 3:16 explains those two gifts more clearly than I ever could:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We are that whosoever.

Our father who art in heaven — holy is your name.

Thank you for salvation and for eternal life. Amen

Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at  annfarabee@gmail.com or annfarabee.com.

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