An Unexpected Gift

Philippians 2:9–11

CHRISTMAS DAY NEVER arrived so slowly, but finally it dawned. While no one was looking, I had shaken the box enough to know that it had to contain what I had been wanting so badly—right size, right weight, everything. When my turn came I tore at the wrapping and ribbon, pulled open the top, and to my disbelieving eyes there it was, a world globe the exact size, shape, and weight of a basketball! All Christmas afternoon I had the joy of locating geographical spots my mom would call out . . . Singapore, Latvia, Montreal, New Zealand, the Amazon, Moscow, Delhi. It was more torturous for this thirteen-year-old than three days in a Siberian Gulag.

It wasn’t until several years later that the significance of that gift finally dawned on me. Now it’s a powerful metaphor for the all-encompassing vision that God had for the world at Christmas—the mission He would give to me:

God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


This season, beneath many a tree are brightly wrapped surprises—some of which will seem momentarily disappointing to a child. There will be a book instead of a game, a globe instead of a ball. But time will put it all in perspective, and many a mother’s vision for her child will one day replace his fantasy. I know. It happened to me. In a day gone mad over basketball and superstars, I find myself unable to name many more than a dozen. What really excites me now is not a hoop and a ball but hope on a globe, where places like Singapore and Moscow, Delhi and Montreal will hear the story of a baby who came in Bethlehem to save people of every tongue and tribe and nation from their sins.

What gift should you look at from a different perspective?

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.