16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
The first verse of this passage is probably the most quoted scripture of this century. It is used so much that we often forget the magnitude of the words. God loved the world so much that he gave his son. God loved. God loved us so much that the only gift worthy was the son. How is that kind of love possible? How are we to understand that kind of sacrifice? We may never fully grasp it, but we can accept it. We can live in gratitude for the gift. We can honor the gift in all we do, trying to be worthy of such a present. Oh, we will fail, we will never be worthy of that sacrifice, but God sees us as worthy anyway.
What if you treated Christmas as a way to pay this gift forward. The gift of Jesus is so amazing, so incredible that we will never fully represent its worth in any gift we give. But we can try. We can think of how God loves us and try to give out of that same love. Think of everyone on your Christmas list and imagine the amount of love God has for each of them, the amount of love God has for you. How does that change what you want to give them? For me, it makes me want to spend less money on the gift and spend more time in the thoughtfulness part. Oh, I’m not too crafty, so I’m not thinking of making anything, but rather putting more thought into each gift, more personalization and love. “God so loved you that he gave…” What and how will you give this year?
Dear God, in this Advent/Christmas season, I thank you for the gift of Jesus. I will never understand this great love you have for me, but today, I will try to honor the gift. Guide me as I seek to be a gift to others. Show me where there is need and guide me to bless others as you have blessed me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.