by Arthur Diener
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. John 15:1
Don’t let anyone tell you Christmas isn’t about gifts; it absolutely is! God started the whole thing by sending Jesus to earth to save us. The gift of His only Son is the best gift anyone could have given. Without that gift of God, we are nothing. John 6:44 says that no one comes to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father. Though the passage uses the word “drawn,” it really needs a better translation. “Drawn” is nice, but we should really be using the word “dragged” The Greek word translated as “drawn” is used in other places in the New Testament. Nets of fish dragged to shore, saints dragged before authorities, and a beaten Paul dragged out of a city. What we see are examples of something, or someone, being pulled under someone else’s efforts for someone else’s purposes. God’s gift to us is that He came to rescue us, then dragged us out of death into a relationship with Him, resulting in eternal life.
God not only gave us His Son, He gives us the faith we need to believe in Him. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We are given a way to be saved and the faith needed to be saved by grace. Before God starts dragging us, we aren’t even looking for Him as Romans 3:10-11 tells us, “…as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.’” And, the gifts don’t stop there!
When we are brought to a saving faith in Christ, we are attached to Him. John 15 describes Jesus as the Vine and God as the vinedresser. Connected to Jesus, and connected to life, we are able to produce much fruit (John 15:5)! That is not something we could do except through God’s many gifts. As branches on the Vine of the Most High, we simply have to let Him work through us. Devote yourself to God and then get out of His way! He has things He wants to do through you; don’t let fear or pride get in the way. What do we have to fear when we have the hope of eternal life ahead of us and the Holy Spirit within us? And, we were completely unable to save ourselves. We needed to be dragged by God to the foot of the cross, so there is no room for pride. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Grace of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus we can do amazing things! That is yet another incredible gift from an amazing God.