Morris ran into Jacob while shopping at the mall the other day in front of one of the jewelry stores. Noticing a small gift wrapped box in his hand, Morris asked if the gift was for Jacob’s wife, Becky, Jacob said, “With Christmas coming up, I asked Becky what she wanted and she said, “Oh, I don’t know, just give me something with lots of diamonds in it.’” “So what did you get her?” ask Morris. Jacob smiled and replied. “I bought her a deck of cards.”
“Cheap” would not be the word used to describe the Gift God gave to us. We need to be reminded of what a great gift we have received.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…
I am struck by the fact that He gave His Son to us! He planned and gave His Son to us. We need to be reminded of what it cost our Father to give the gift. The gift was of his Son and this gift would become a sacrifice. We do not “feel” the cost of this gift. Look at how the Bible describes what will happen to this Gift.
Isaiah 53:5-7 (NKJV)
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
It was in 1937, Dennis Hensley tells us, when this true story took place. For the first time, he brought his 8-year-old son, Greg, to work with him to see what Daddy did all day. The little boy was wide-eyed with excitement, and he clapped his hands with glee when the huge bridge went up at the beck and call of his mighty father. He watched with wonderment as the huge boats steamed down the Mississippi.
Twelve o’clock came, and his father put up the bridge. There were no trains due for a good while, and they went out a couple of hundred feet on a catwalk out over the river to an observation deck. They sat down, opened their brown bag, and began to eat their lunch. His father told him about some of the strange, faraway lands that some of these ships were going to visit. This entranced the boy.
The time whirled by, and suddenly they were drawn instantly back to reality by the shrieking of a distant train whistle. John Griffith quickly looked at his watch. He saw that it was time for the Memphis Express, with 400 passengers, which would be rushing across that bridge in just a couple of minutes. He knew he had just enough time, so without panic but with alacrity, he told his son to stay where he was.
He leaped to his feet, jumped to the catwalk, ran back, climbed the ladder to the control room, went in, put his hand on the huge lever that controlled the bridge, looked up the river and down to see if any boats were coming, as was his custom, and then looked down to see if there were any beneath the bridge. And suddenly he saw a sight that froze his blood and caused his heart to leap into his throat. His boy! His boy had tried to follow him to the control room and had fallen into the great, huge gear box that had the monstrous gears that operated this massive bridge. His left leg was caught between the two main gears, and the father knew that as sure as the sun came up in the morning, if he pushed that lever his son would be ground in the midst of eight tons of whining, grinding steel.
His eyes filled with tears of panic. His mind whirled. What could he do? He saw a rope there in the control room. He could rush down the ladder and out the catwalk, tie off the rope, lower himself down, extricate his son, climb back up the rope, run back into the control room, and lower the bridge. No sooner had his mind done that exercise than he knew–he knew there wasn’t time. He’d never make it, and there were 400 people on that train.
Suddenly he heard the whistle again, this time startlingly closer. And he could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels on the track, and he could hear the rapid puffing of the train. What could he do? What could he do! There were 400 people, but this was … this was his son, this was his only son. He was a father! He knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his arm and he pushed the gear forward.
The great bridge slowly lowered into place just as the express train roared across. He lifted up his tear-smeared face and looked straight into the flashing windows of that train as they flashed by one after another. He saw men reading the afternoon paper, a conductor in uniform looking at a large vest-pocket watch, ladies sipping tea out of teacups, and little children pushing long spoons into plates of ice cream. Nobody looked in the control room. Nobody looked at his tears. Nobody, nobody looked down to the great gear box where His son lay crushed.
In heart-wrenching agony, he beat against the window of the control room, and he said, “What’s wrong with you people? Don’t you care? I sacrificed my son for you. Don’t any of you care?” Nobody looked. Nobody heard. Nobody heeded. And the train disappeared across the river.
Don’t be like those on the train. This Christmas let’s express our gratitude to Him for “His indescribable gift!”