Stephen preached from Isaiah 55 yesterday morning, looking at the gift that keeps on goiving. At this time of year, there is much preparation for Christmas going on, but so often, this focuses on the practical – on buying presents, on what we will eat and drink and so on. The Christmas message actually describes the most wonderful gift imaginable, a perpetual, everlasting and renewing gift.

The gift God offers is without cost. The invitation is given to all, all who are thirsty. This gift satisfies long-term and we are urged to take part in what is available. We may have different needs, but God is able to satisfy all of them. Some of the sweets in Willy Wonka’s factory were not all they appeared to be – in The Inventing Room, Wonka’s new—and still insufficiently tested—candies were made, such as Everlasting Gobstoppers, Hair Toffee, and Wonka’s greatest idea so far, Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum. This was a three course dinner all in itself, containing, “Tomato soup, roast beef and baked potato, and blueberry pie and ice cream”. However, once the chewer got to the dessert, the side effect was that they turned into a giant “blueberry.” This happened to Violet Beauregarde after she rashly grabbed and consumed the experimental gum. The story shows us that not everything which looks good actually satisfies.

God’s gifts are not like this, however. The only condition we have is that now is the time for us to receive the gift of His covenant and His presence. There will come a time when it’s too late. God wants us to draw near to Him now and receive from Him now. His gift won’t let us down.