Gift Giving

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Gift giving is a vital part of Christmas. Too often we swap gifts rather than give gifts. It can be frustrating to try to find the right gift for the right person.

When God gave a gift, He didn’t buy it at the store – He gave Himself, His Son. The best gifts at Christmas are not bought – they are a sharing of who we are.

Matt Hoffman discovered this. He was a senior defensive end at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. His college had an on campus drive in the spring of 2009 to enroll students in the Be the Match registry for the donor program. Hoffman was one of 371 people who signed up.

There was a road maintenance worker in Brenham, Texas, named Warren Sallach. He was going to die if he didn’t receive a blood stem cell transplant to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Matt Hoffman was a match for Warren.

It wasn’t a simple gift. When he was identified as a match, he had to receive shots for five consecutive days before the transplant so he could raise the blood stem cell count. The offshoot of this was that the medication enlarged his spleen, which put him at risk of a rupture if he played football. His team had one more game. He decided to sit out his final college game in order to save the life of somebody he had never met.

As you are aware, the confidentiality of recipients and donors remain anonymous to one another for at least a year after the transplant. They can only make contact if both parties give their consent.

Can you imagine the feeling when Warren Sallach, 59-years-old, met Matt Hoffman, 21-years-old, for the first time? He met the man that had given a gift that saved his life. It was a gift that wouldn’t be swapped – it was a gift that could not be reciprocated.

Matt knew that he had missed out on a few sacks in his last game. He wasn’t just an ordinary player. This past year he was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

While Matt Hoffman gave a great gift when he gave up playing in a football game in order to save the life of a man he had never met, God gave up His Son who would be persecuted and die for millions of people who had not even been born yet! While Matt’s gift met a need for this life, God’s Gift met the deepest need of mankind for eternity!

Christmas is about the greatest Gift that God could give – the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.

Paul writes, “Thank God for His Gift that words can’t describe.” (II Corinthians 9:15 CEB)

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