When we were kids, my brother’s friend, Andre Senecal, got so many gifts at Christmas that some were still unopened in late January.
The Bible is your best gift this Christmas. Ask the Kimyals of Papua, Indonesia. On March 16, 2010, a Mission Aviation Fellowship GA8 Airvan sliced through a mountain range in the Eastern Highlands with a cargo of Bibles. The villagers in tribal finery turned out with awe and dancing. Five men walking abreast approached the strange white bird with Old Testament solemnity.
Then the chieftain lifted his voice: “O God, O God, the plan which You had from the beginning, regarding Your Kimyals, which already existed in Your Spirit—the month that You set, the day that You had set—has come to pass today. O my Father, Father, the promise that You gave Simeon that he would see Jesus Christ, and hold Him in his arms before he died, I also have been waiting under that same promise, O God.”
He continued: “You looked at all the different languages and chose which ones You will put Your Word into. You thought that we should see Your Word in our language. Today, the day you had chosen for this to be fulfilled, has come to pass. O God, today You have placed Your Word into my hands, just like You promised. You have placed it here in our land. And for all this, O God, I give you praise.”
An ancient woman in the crowd spoke: “We have taken God’s word, and have accepted it. We have put it into our hearts and now we are going to give it to you young people who need to also take it and accept it and obey it.” Then came joyful sobbing, and men carried boxes on their shoulders. A cart not unlike the one that transported the Ark from Philistia trundled its precious wares amid great procession.
The radiant village teacher said: “Before, when I taught God’s Word, I used the Indonesian Scriptures, I used the Dani Scriptures, and I used the Yali Scriptures. I used the Nalca Bible to teach the Word. I’ve been doing that how many years? On March 16, when God’s Word came to Korupun in the Kimyal language, it fell down to us into our hands. So that was like a weapon in my hand. I don’t have to translate it. It’s ready to use.”
Around 623 B.C., long overdue repairs on the Temple unearthed a fearful finding that made its way up the chain of command. Hilkiah the high priest passed it off to Shaphan the secretary, who brought the dangerous cache to the king—and “when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes” (2 Chronicles 34:19).
Two centuries later, Governor Nehemiah called together the exile returnees rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, because they needed to hear what Ezra the priest handed him: “He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday. … And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose” (Nehemiah 8).
The next step after opening your gift is using it. Where the Lord says to bless those who curse you (Luke 6:28), make today the first day you actually do that. Where he says, “be perfect” (Matthew 5:48), start being ruthless with sin in your life. Where he says, “Do not be anxious” (Matthew 6:31), catch those pebble-in-the-shoe anxieties and rebuke them in the name of the One who gives your daily bread.
When your open Bible says, “You are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31), let it change your chronically poor self-image. When it says, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3), understand and don’t be enamored with the inner circle of intellectuals. When it says that to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance (Matthew 13:12), determine to use the faith you have, and go for the abundance.
You will not run out of gifts before the Son of Man returns.