“Christmas is the season of giving.” This slogan is used over and over this time of year. Whoever coined that phrase motivated people to give. We have lists of people to buy for—husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors—and we scurry around finding the perfect gift for each one. Many people save all year long just to buy that special gift for someone they love. It starts out as a heartfelt gesture, but hopefully in the end it doesn’t turn into a chore.
When our children were young, they would walk around the Christmas tree trying to guess what was inside the packages. Our children were so excited on Christmas Eve, they could hardly sleep. Some of the toys needed to be assembled, so we were up most of the night. On Christmas morning, their little eyes sparkled in delight as they rushed to the tree to open their gifts. The sounds of squeals and laughter filled the room as they opened each surprise. They showered us with hugs and thanks, repeating “I love it!!” over and over. Yet, I noticed that within a year some of those same gifts they ‘loved” were not as exciting and sometimes even forgotten.
In the midst of the flurry of Christmas, have we lost the true meaning of the best gift of all?
“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 AMP
This verse has become so widespread that people advertise it at sporting events, on street corners, on buildings, on cups, and on bumper stickers. A famous football player even wore John 3:16 painted on his face! Since this verse has become so common, has the impact of the gift been forgotten? Nonbelievers may gloss over it and move on. But for believers, I ask, “Does it still have the same impact it had when you first accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Or has the gift lessened more throughout the years?” Do our eyes sparkle with delight in the fact we have a daily gift from the Lord? Do our hearts leap with joy and laughter as we unwrap the blessings that accompany our salvation? Do we worship and praise Him with thanks in our hearts? I must admit there are times when I have seen the reference to that verse on public display and thought, “Oh that’s nice, I hope someone who needs Jesus sees it.”
One day in my quiet time I read John 3:16. I had read that verse many times and thanked the Lord for sending His Son so I could be saved. Yet that day was different. As I began reading it, I thought of my own son and how special he is to our family. I thought of the many years spent with him from the moment of his birth and the joy he brings: the laughter, the tricks he plays, the love he radiates, and how much we enjoy being with him. I asked myself, “Could I give up my son as a sacrifice to people who are sinful, make fun of him, use his in name in vain, and could care less about his death? Absolutely not!
Yet God gave us an incredible gift by giving His one and only Son. No amount of money could buy our salvation, peace, and joy. He gave us a matchless gift: Jesus.
We need no money to give away a fantastic gift that “keeps on giving.” The best gift we can give is sharing our free gift, salvation, and the many spiritual blessings that come with it. I do not look at John 3:16 with the same eyes as I did before. I look at the huge sacrifice of God on our behalf. He waited patiently for me to unwrap my special gift and when I did, my eyes sparkled, laughter poured out, and squeals of joy came forth. My words became, “I love You and thank you Lord.”
Leave a blank line on your Christmas list this year. I challenge you to give the priceless gift that no amount of money can buy, and it won’t drain you physically and emotionally. You won’t have to get into the fray of the hustle and bustle of shopping. All you have to do is make yourself available by praying and asking the Holy Spirit for that divine appointment to talk with a lost person or family member about the beautifully wrapped gift of salvation. Not only will that be the best gift you have ever given, but it will also bring you and others unspeakable joy and peace.
Father it amazes me when I think of how great Your love is. You sent Your only Son to die for me. In my humanity I cannot imagine that. Yet, because of the sacrifice You made by sending Your Son, I received the best gift of all. Help me be aware of Your prompting that I may also tell others about the gift of salvation. I ask that You lead and guide me when I should speak of your love. In faith, I am confident You will give me the strength to speak about you, and provide a divine appointment to pass on the gift of salvation this Christmas season. I love you and thank you. Amen.