Chances are if you have been a parent for any length of time, you have a collection of “ugly gifts.” Over the years I have been presented with quite an assortment of lovingly crafted, handmade ugliness. It has all come from the heart though, and my children have given me these gifts with great pride.
I have tried occasionally to graciously exit some of these treasures from my house. I have been met with dismay and almost outrage sometimes, that I would dare to want to replace the beautiful(!) napkin holders my boys hammered together for me at Cub Scout camp sometime in the distant past. Or why on earth would I want to take the lopsided pen holder off my desk? And really, I wouldn’t. These childhood years race by quickly, and of course I treasure every reminder of them.
As I was thinking about these gifts, it made me think about another “ugly gift” that every person on Earth has been given. Jesus’ death on the cross was about as ugly as it gets. As horrific as it was, this gift was also given in pure love. We just have to decide what we are going to do with it.
There are many ways that we choose to deal with it. Some people do their best to ignore it. Some of us go to the opposite extreme and wear the symbol of the cross around our necks as a constant reminder. Some of us decide to only think about it on Sundays. Sooner or later though, every person has to decide what they are going to do with the gift of the cross.
For those who choose to accept what Christ did on the cross for them, they discover that this ugly gift turns out to be the most beautiful thing that ever happened. Jesus literally took every ugly, disgusting, sinful thing that anyone ever did upon Himself and paid the price for it. Then He offered us the free gift of salvation and a beautiful, new life with Him. I don’t know about you, but that is a gift I want to receive!
“‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked.” Matthew 27:22
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23