The Birthday Necklace
Have you ever received a gift that was so detailed, so specific to who you are that it brought so much joy to your heart? Those are the best kinds of gifts. I could think of a handful of presents that we’re given to me in that way. One of my biggest pet peeves are gifts that are given without any thought behind it. (Even though I have done this before). When a gift has been thought out, even if it’s something small, it speaks loads of love and worth to the receiver of the gift.
This is exactly how God is like.
The word says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
God is the ultimate gift Giver. This doesn’t mean when you become a Christ follower you are going to get everything you’ve ever wanted. Instead, when we follow Jesus, you will discover an intimate love unlike any other. Jesus knows us. He knows every detail of our lives, past, present, and future. He knows what gets you excited, He knows your quirks, He knows your passions, He knows what you desire, and guess what? He cares.
God cares more about us than we could ever imagine. Every detail. Every fear. Every worry. Everything. He knows. He cares. When we encounter this kind of intimacy with the God who is love, it will completely undo your entire life. Your heart will be captured forever.
When I was about to turn 19, I went on my second trip to Israel. It was a trip hosted by Kim Clement and GOD TV. My birthday was going to land during our trip. I asked my mom for one thing for my birthday. All I wanted was a necklace from Israel (I couldn’t ask for much more seeing we we’re already taking this trip!) I always had a thing for special jewelry. Jewelry that wasn’t expensive, but that was meaningful. It may sound silly, but my whole teenage life I was in the hunt for a piece of jewelry that meant something to me. Something that had a story behind it. I don’t even know why I wanted something like that, but I did. And I was determined to find it in Israel. During the trip, I stopped at every gift shop I could. I searched, but nothing was sticking out to me. Nothing was my style or something I wanted to buy. I was getting discouraged, because our trip was coming to an end. We had about 2 or 3 days left, and I was worried I was going to leave Israel without getting that piece of jewelry I wanted.
On September 24, 2011 we were at this gift shop by the Dead Sea. I found a necklace that I didn’t love, but almost bought it because like I said, I couldn’t find anything! But, something inside me told me not to buy it. I listened to that small, still voice within me. So I walked away, once again, empty handed.
The next day, September 25, was my birthday. We spent most of the day wandering around the city of Jerusalem. We explored the city, checking out markets, shops, the culture, and different spots to eat. During our tour, there was a little jewelry shop right across a courtyard we we’re in. A few people in our group decided to check out the shop, so I followed behind.
While in the shop, I was finding some nice pieces of jewelry. This place looked promising. Finally, something caught my eye. It was a necklace that was so unique! It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it was better. It was a rugged heart charm with Hebrew on it. In Hebrew it said, “I am my beloveds, and my beloved’s is mine.” Sold. I quickly grabbed my mom and asked if I could get it. The owner of the shop even gave us a discount because it was my birthday!
I was floored. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t believe I found this necklace that was so special to me. It literally felt like a birthday gift from God.
A couple months passed. I wore that necklace every day. Part of me wanted to get the back of it engraved with my birth date because of the significance behind it, but I didn’t think to pursue that idea because of the style of the charm. Then one night, a friend of mine asked me where I got the necklace. I told her I got it in Israel, but then continued with the story I just told you. I shared with her how it literally felt like a gift from God, especially because I was so convinced I was going to leave Israel without anything, but I ended up finding it on my birthday. When we were done talking on the phone, I began looking at the necklace, just admiring it once again. I turned it around, and I noticed a couple numbers were on the back…
What am I seeing right now? I started to squint harder, making sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. I got a magnifying glass and looked harder. Oh my goodness…
To my surprise, on the back of the necklace were the numbers 925.
If you haven’t put the pieces together, my birthday is September 25th.
I started to weep. This necklace was even better than I could have imagined. This present was a gift from God. The details behind it couldn’t have been anything less than something that His hand was on. This gift was so detailed, so specific, so what my heart wanted. In that moment, I felt like God’s favorite child on the planet. The presence of His love in this scenario was that overwhelming.
That story was a moment of understanding a little bit more of how much God really does loves us.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Just this past year, I learned that the numbers 925 are the numbers to authenticate pure sterling silver. But for myself, that fact doesn’t strip away the wonder of how God used a simple necklace to speak His love to my heart. God works in wondrous ways, and He knows what He needs to do to communicate His intimate love in a way that we will receive it.
God’s love is so powerful, so amazing, so intimate that He can make YOU feel like you’re His favorite child. God’s love is so indescribable that He can make the 7 billion people on the planet feel like they are His favorite. And truth is, we’re all His favorites because God is no respecter of persons.
God is the best gift Giver. No matter where He takes you in life, if you pursue Him, He will show you that He knows you and He cares. He loves you. He has a plan for you. He will redeem your past and give you a brand new future. He is a good, good Father who gives good things to those who follow Him.
But above everything else, Jesus is the best Gift the Father has ever given this world. The fact that God sent Jesus to earth to dwell among us shows us the kind of love He has for His creation. Jesus was the perfect, spotless Son of God. Humanity was and is lost in our sin, sin that grieves and breaks the heart of our Holy Father. Jesus did nothing to deserve the death He died. But He did it willingly to bring us back into relationship with the Father. Romans 5:8 says; “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus’ love is beyond measure. He doesn’t call you by your sin, but calls you by your name. He forgives you for every wrong thing you have ever done. No matter how much guilt, shame or condemnation you may feel, Jesus says forgiven. He says loved. He says free. He says healed.
No matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus Christ has given His life for you. He gave Himself as a free Gift, all you need to do is accept Him into your life. When you receive Him into your life, you will find all that you are searching for. All emptiness will finally be fulfilled and you will realize that Jesus is all we need. At the end of the day, God is truly the best gift Giver, and Jesus Christ is the best Gift of all.