Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Watch out! Santa is coming to town. He's been making a list, and now he's checking it twice. He'll find out who's been naughty and who's been nice. Sorry if you're on the naughty list. Only a lump of coal for you this year! But if you've managed to make it onto Santa's nice list, you might find the gifts you requested in your letter to the North Pole!
Gifts?! No, the above example does not describe a gift. If I have to earn something, it is not a gift. It's a payment, a remittance for goods or services I have performed.
I'm not slamming Santa. He's a jolly old elf. Santa is just one example of how our perception of gifts has been distorted. We preach long and amen loudly that salvation is a gift from God. We say it's by grace through faith, not of ourselves. But do we really believe that? Are we really living in the pure joy that flows from the abundance of God's grace?