The Perfect Gift

Mary and our daughters, Lauren and Leah, have told me for years that I am “the most difficult person to buy Christmas gifts for.” The reason for this is because, in a sense, I am like the man who has everything – I need very little, materially, anyways.

Twenty-two years ago, before ALS invaded my body, I was easy to buy gifts for. If Mary and the girls couldn’t think of anything else, anything creative, that is, they’d just get me a necktie, golf balls, or maybe a some of my favorite snacks. But now that ALS has taken away my ability to work, golf and eat, the old default gifts are no longer an option.

Even before ALS changed our lives, and our finances, Mary and I never spent a lot of money buying each other Christmas gifts. She found a 50% off sale on men’s clothing earlier this month and bought me a nice shirt and two pairs of pants. She gave me the gifts last week, and I’ve already worn the pants. You might be thinking that she should have waited until Christmas morning to give me the gifts. I don’t know for sure, but she’ll probably have another gift or two for me to open on Christmas morning. Maybe she’ll get me exciting gifts like new socks and slippers. I might have a few gifts for her to open Christmas morning, too. But, with ALS, there’s no better time than the present when it comes to giving presents.

As the regular followers of my blog know, pneumonia almost took me out a few months ago. This was just the latest of my many close encounters with death. I am learning to live like every day might be my last day in my rapidly decaying body.

Isn’t this the way that all followers of Christ should live, regardless of the state of our health?

“How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14)

Even if we live to be a hundred, that is just a drop in the ocean when compared to eternity. The greatest gift that God could have given man is the gift of eternal life. This incredible gift comes through Jesus Christ, whose birth Christians celebrate every December 25th.

The Bible tells us that Mary, Jesus’s mother, was a virgin and that an angel told her that she was going to be the mother of the Savior of the world. A virgin becoming pregnant? Mary was wondering about this, too:

“Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
Answer:
“The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

According to the Bible, our sin nature is passed from one generation to another through the father (Romans 5:12). This means that for Jesus to be the “Savior of the world,” He had to be born without a sin nature; only God Himself was qualified to be the Father of Jesus.

Here is the great part of this – Jesus was born sinless and lived a sinless life so that He could place His sinless nature in anyone who asks Him to do so.

Jesus had to be born of a virgin so the prostitute could be born again!

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)

Jesus is the perfect one-size-fits-all gift. If you haven’t yet accepted this free gift from God, I hope and pray that you will. There’s no better time than today.

I apologize for being pushy about this, but those who live like today might be their last day on earth, tend to be direct about matters of eternity. This might be your last day on earth, too.

“God says,
At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, God is ready to help you right now.
Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Are you a Christian?

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on December 22, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 99 Comments.

  1. Hi Bill, How ya doing? Good to see you still giving truth to the Internet. Blessings, Mike

  2. Happy New Year! I always look forward to your posts. Your article made me think of something I read from someone I follow on Instagram. He encouraged his followers to not just pray for the end result, and that we should pray for opportunities that will allow God to achieve the end result. For example, instead of just praying that a loved one will be saved, pray that God will provide an opportunity for you (or someone) to talk to the loved one about God, Jesus, and Salvation. We know that God can do anything, but sometimes we want to snap our fingers with the expectation that God is going to make that answer to prayer happen without any help on our part. You have allowed God to use you in so many ways. Thank you.

    • I totally agree with this, Teri. We need to pray specifically and even creatively. I don’t think God likes to hear bland “religious” prayers, He wants passion from us in relating to others and in our prayer life.

  3. So glad you’re still here! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family!

  4. I LOVE YOUR PUSHINESS! Because it comes from a heart of understanding and appreciating the limits of this world, the darkness of life this side of heaven, the things we miss by not being in the presence of the Lord. You’ve been a beacon of light with your wisdom and experience. May you enjoy the new year–and may your days continue to be filled with His special grace and kindness.

    • Thank you, Dayle. There is a lot of “darkness this side of heaven,” for sure. But, thankfully, there is still a lot of light shining in the darkness. I hope and pray that the lights begin to shine brighter in the coming year.

  5. Happy New Year, 2019, Bill! May the Lord continue to use your miraculous life as a living testimony of God’s loving kindness, power and grace to touch many lives for HIs glory!

  6. Bill, I’m a little late but wanted to wish you, Mary, and the family Merry Christmas and a blessed 2019!

  7. Preach it, brother! And a Merry Christmas to you, Mary, and the family!

  8. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Bill. Your tenacity and honesty are beautiful.

  9. A blessed Christmas Bill to you and your beautiful family.
    Your blog is such an encouragement.

  10. Thank you for this beautiful message, Bill. You have a powerful and moving testimony. Wishing you, Mary, and the rest of your family a very Merry Christmas! May your New Year filled to the brim w/ blessings!

    Your friend,

    Anna <3

  11. Great post Bill. Everyday, no matter if we think it might be our last, should be a day we share the gift of Christ. Thank you for your blog it always puts things in the right perspective. So glad we got to see you all on Saturday. May your family have a very blessed Christmas!

  12. This post was winsome, evangelistics and personal. It was not pushy at all! It is true, Christ is the one size fits all gift that everyone needs. God bless you Bill.

  13. I’m getting a little ‘pushy’ these days … towards my grandchildren, at least trying to make them think a little more about God..
    Anyway, Merry Christmas to you Bill and to Mary and your family… Diane

  14. Excellent post! Merry Christmas and a Happy New to you and your family. <3

  15. Not pushy at all, Bill. We should all have as much urgency to share the gift of the Gospel, and you inspire me to continue to do so.

  16. Amen. Not a one of us is guaranteed tomorrow – or even the next hour. May the Lord draw many to Himself through your “pushiness.” 😉

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  17. Thank you for the inspiration for today. Christmas blessings to you and your family.

  18. Have a blessed and joyous Christmas Bill, Mary and family. I’m hoping you stick around for a while Bill, yes I know, I’m probably being a little on the greedy side but I always feel better just knowing that you’re OK. The two of you are such a blessing.

  19. Well said…. Merry Christmas to you and Mary! May the Lord bless you and keep you well! Loved seeing Leah this week. She’s such a blessing to me. Love that girl!

  20. Wishing you a merry Christmas, Bill. The presence of family is the best gift on this earth and spending eternity with the Lord is best of all. When ever that happens, I will meet you there.

  21. I love reading your inspiring posts! Merry Christmas, Bill! Linda Menaugh

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  22. Yep! We are not promised tomorrow, or the rest of this day as a matter of fact. Our days are numbered we just don’t know or number but must…must be ready for the call.
    In the meantime…Come Lord Jesus.

  23. Amen
    Thank you for your love for Jesus, brother Bill!

  24. Bill, I am always delighted when I find your posts on Reader, and am sharing this one on Facebook. Some people read Faceboook who do not read my blog. Praying that others will read your message and be blessed in knowing they have this gift, or by receiving it. Blessings for you, Mary and your family for another year according to the Lord’s will. 🙂

  25. Merry Christmas! Thank you for your always inspiring posts! You are so right, Jesus is by far the most perfect gift! Blessings to you and your family

  26. Merry Christmas Billy to you and all your clan! Love..Love..reading your posts and sharing them! As always they bring such Hope and Inspiration to all of us. Thank you for ever reminding us that life is too short on this Earth. Recently read a quote- “Grief is a place to visit, not a place to stay”. Praying for a Happy and Healthy New Year to you! oxox Much Love, Pamela (your cousin who turned 60)! Lol

    • I like that quote, Pam, so true. We can get stuck in grief, which ends up being a very dark place. Terrence wouldn’t want you to stay there. 2019 will be better. Merry Christmas!

  27. Merry Christmas Bill to you and all your clan! Love..Love..reading your posts and sharing your much-needed Wisdom! Always such inspiring reminders of what Life is really all about. Love you! xoox Pamela (your now 60 year old cousin)! Lol

    • Thank you, Pam. 60 years old! 🙂 Ed will be turning 60 next month then I’m next in line. This will be a sad Christmas for you guys without Terence, but I know that he’d want you to have a Merry Christmas. You’re in our prayers.

  28. Blessings on you, Bill. May this wonderful invitation bring souls to a saving knowledge of the Savior!

  29. Thank you SO much for putting things in the perspective of eternity. Too many people live as if this life were all that exists, like focusing on one grain of sand in the middle of the Sahara Desert. This is the reason I gave my blog its name. Blessings to you and your beautiful family this Christmas. I’m look forward to meeting all of you someday.

    • Thank you, Ann. Yes, so many live as if this fleeting life is all there is, no wonder so many suffer from depression. I lost so much through this trial, but I discovered where true peace, Joy and hope can be found, hence the name Unshakable Hope 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  30. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Bill, as you share God’s gift together.
    “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”

  31. Excellent post, Bill. Our Lord Jesus is truly the reason for the season. I do not think you are being pushy but are simply rightfully sensitive to the feelings of others. When the Lord first brought the Gospel to me many years ago, He chose a witness who was much more than pushy! The love of the Lord and His wonderful presence was also involved. I was not in any way offended because I had been so hungry for truth and was searching. You are reflecting your great care and concern for others with your loving attitude and are showing the strength that all believers must have to share the Gospel. Thank you for showing all of us what the Christmas season must be about, not just the love of family and friends but also the great love of the Lord who became one of us.

    May you and your loving family have a great Merry Christmas Bill! (And I’m sure you have more presents in store…)

  32. Merry Christmas Bill, Mary, and family. I continue to thank God for you Bill!

  33. Reblogged this on A Front Row View of The Church and commented:
    Reblogged this from Bill Sweeny’s “Unshakable Hope” blog. Please visit his site and discover for yourself how God can sustain us in the most trying of circumstances.

  34. Merry Christmas to you! Thank you for sharing
    important words.

  35. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  36. Dear bill and family,
    I woke up early last night thinking about you and your family this Christmas. I was wondering how you were doing and how things have gone with Mary being able to give you more time.
    I first learned about you when you were in chris fabry. I was captivated by your perseverance and unwavering trust in Christ at that moment and began following you. Some time after that, my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we have been on very crazy journey. God is sustaining my husband In ways that are a mystery to all who meet him. Our god knew this and has given me great encouragement thru many means one of which is your blog. Thank you for sharing! And thank you for staying strong in your faith and being steady to share Christ. My husband is much like you in this way and I’m convinced god has given him and you a platform to speak to so many thru the trial you are enduring. Kniw I pray for you and I’m thankful for your testimony.

    • Thank you for your encouraging comments and for your prayers, Jana. I’m so sorry that you and your husband are dealing with this horrible trial. God still heals. He also sustains us in our trials, but it sounds like you have already discovered this. I will be praying for you and your husband.
      Merry Christmas!

  37. Beautifully written! Thanks, Bill. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

  38. Merry Christmas to you, Mary and your family… I open my presents early too….

  39. Yes! None of us knows the number of our days only God, thank you for this and Merry Christmas 🎄!

  40. I’m always glad to hear from you and appreciate this wonderful post. I shared it to my FB page. Please don’t feel you have to respond. I know it takes a lot of work to use your eyes for typing. I pray for you frequently.

  41. I love your posts! This world needs you & your wisdom & your heart!
    I was thinking the other day how they say most accidents happen close to your home. My husband travels for work a lot. Long driving trips. I always worry. Though there’s a road a mile from our home Called Hell Hill due to all of the accidents that happen regularly. You are right. You never know what tomorrow will bring. But if we believe & our love ones believe in the Christmas Gift God sent to us all those years ago, we have comfort in the future. You always make me think.
    Merry Christmas Bill! To you & your family. ❤️

  42. Straight to the point is good with me, Bill! I am praying your words encourages those who don’t know Jesus to let Him in and forgive their sins. I am praying for those who have known Him and His amazing goodness that we would be more bold.
    Your post reminded me of Jim Elliot’s words, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
    Wishing you and your family a Christmas with Jesus at the center. Much love to you and Mary!!!

  43. Thank you Bill for always sharing the Love of Christ, and His Grace, in the gift of Salvation.
    Never apologize, thinking you are pushy in sharing the Gospel. Perhaps even one person will read that toda6 and have a life changing experience in Christ. What a Christmas that will be.
    Merry Christmas Bill, to you, Mary, Lauren and Leah. God’s Blessings, and may 2019 be prosperous for each of you, as God sees prosperity.

  44. Amen Bill! Merry Christmas to you and your family! God bless you all!

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