One tradition has it that when you give a person a gift-wrapped lump of coal, you are showing your disdain for the person. That kind of a cruel gift illustrates how Satan deceives people today. He cleverly offers a lump of coal packaged in an attractive gift box. His beautiful gift box leads people to believe they will find happiness from pleasure, from amassing material possessions, and from exercising power over people. On the other hand, God who created us gives us the facts. He tells us that only in a vital relationship with Him can we be our best or achieve genuine satisfaction. That fact is why the prophet Hosea, speaking for God, gave ancient Israel the following message (Chapter 14): “Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.” Hosea then tells them if they do this God’s reply will be, “I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.” Sin separates us from God and the result is disillusionment and disaster. But when we turn to God and accept His Son, and seek to live for Him, He gives us His peace, joy, and blessing. Unlike Satan’s gift-wrapped coal, God’s gifts are priceless and they last forever.
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