“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.” (New International Version 1984, John 3:16)
You can celebrate your best Christmas ever by unwrapping three gifts!
First, unwrap God’s gift of hope. Jesus said in John 3:16 that the Father “gave his one and only Son.” God’s promise! There are over 100 promises of the hoped-for Messiah in the Old Testament.
It begins in Genesis 3:14, 15 where the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’”
It continues in Isaiah 7:14 where it was prophesied that, “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
It closes with Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This is the season of hope.
Second, unwrap Christ’s gift of love. Jesus said in John 3:16 that “God so loved.” God’s presence!
God’s love demonstrated as God’s presence is declared in 1 John 4:9 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
Third, unwrap your gift of belief. Jesus said in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in Him.” Your Action!
I say unwrap because even your belief is a gift from God. It is a graceful mixture of God’s work and your responsibility.
Romans 10:9–10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
Several years ago, Mary and I had prayed, hoped and had even talked with our son, Joseph, hoping that he would be home from Iraq for Thanksgiving. He couldn’t tell us the specific day. Finally, he called and said that he was at Ft. Hood. We knew he was safe. We knew he was back, but we couldn’t see him yet. After a couple of days, he was notified that he was free to leave for Thanksgiving.
We believed he was there. We believed he was free to leave. But what did our belief ultimately do? We acted! We made arrangements to get off work and we got in the car and made the five and 1/2 hr. trip to Ft. Hood and picked him up. That is the difference between believing factual information and believing a truth that moves you to action.
Act out your belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior of your life.
- Surrender your will to Jesus Christ as Lord this Christmas season
- Share your faith with those around you this Christmas season
- Pray for and give toward OJPM this Christmas season
God’s presence is His present to you!