But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7 (NIV84)
The story is told of a young boy who on Christmas morning unwrapped a small 3×7-inch wooden box. As he opened the lid, he was greeted with the smiling face of Benjamin Franklin on a $100 bill. Surprised and excited, the boy quickly grabbed the bill and gazed in amazement. Yet, no sooner had he clutched the bill in his hand, did he then notice an inscription inside the lid. It read “A new bill every day to sustain your living. Rejoice! For this magical box is a gift
that keeps on giving!” Could it be? Sure enough, the very next day and every day following, the boy was welcomed with another $100 bill each time he opened it. No matter where he went or what he did, the magical wooden box continued to give.
It’s safe to say such a gift does not exist. A magical box that produces money every day belongs in the same category as flying pigs, genies, and Snow White—fiction. Yet, for us as Christians, God really has given us a gift that keeps on giving. The apostle Paul describes this gift in his letter to Titus. This gift is not magical but miraculous. It’s not wrapped in paper but in God’s grace. It’s not made of wood but of water and the Word. It doesn’t just sustain but saves! What is this gift? Baptism.
At the moment of our baptism, the Holy Spirit did the impossible and turned an enemy of God into a child of God! Faith was created and a relationship was restored! A broken, sinful human being was declared righteous and perfect! Oh, the blessings of baptism!
But the blessings do not end when we leave the baptismal font. The washing of renewal and rebirth is not a onetime gift. Baptism is a gift that keeps on giving. Have you every stopped to think of the incredible blessings that God gives through this gift? Each and every day God continues to generously flood us with his kindness, love, mercy, and grace. Each and every day we have washing of sin both inside and out. Each and every day we have confidence that this world, with all its grief and sorrow, is not our home. We have the certainty of heaven!
At times, the days following Christmas can produce a sense of let-down in many hearts and minds. There is a lull that sets in and leaves many people wanting more. Not so with you and me as Christians. As we bask in the joy of the indescribable gift found in the babe of Bethlehem, we also rejoice that the blessings of the Christ Child are made ours through baptism—the gift that keeps on giving.
Prayer: Good and gracious Lord, thank you for the wonderful blessings you give through the waters of baptism. Help me to see that baptism is a gift that daily gives me the assurance of your forgiveness and grace. Amen.