It’s Christmas once again, a time of celebration and joy.
A few days back I happened to sit and think of the one Christmas verse that I believe sums up the whole meaning of Christmas and the one that is my personal favorite among all. The verse I picked up was John 3:16
“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”
I believe this verse is a true expression for all the reason of our celebration and joy and should be held close to our hearts not just at Christmas but all the days of our lives.
Every word in that verse is so rich with the revelation that we can meditate on it for days. Here are my thoughts as I went through each and every word in that verse and hope your hearts respond in the same way as mine did.
The verse begins with the mention of the main character and that is “GOD”.
I often tell stories to my boys before sleep and I start by saying “Once upon a time, there was a TIGER (with a growling voice)…”The moment I mention the main character of the story I observe their reactions and I found out that they respond differently at the mention of different characters. If it is a tiger or a lion, they get really enthusiastic and if it’s a rabbit, they’re more calm and curious.
What I learned is that the character definitely carries some weight and sets the momentum for the rest of the story and takes the course in that direction.
Similarly, I want you to understand the weight of our main character in our favorite verse; here we are talking about God.
These days the use of the word ‘God’ has become so common that we rarely get gripped even by the mention of it.
We are talking about the ultimate power, the source of all good things, the one who was from the beginning, the master designer who designed us, the earth we live in, this massive universe, the sun and the moon, the different planets and arranged it in such a fashion that scientists say that if there is a deviation of 0.000000000000000001% the earth would not exist, we will not exist.
Before we go ahead, I want to encourage you to take some time and allow the weight of that name to grip you and I am sure the rest of the verse will sound more meaningful and enriching.
The greatest love we’ve ever known or experienced is the love of the creator God. I don’t even know whether anybody can even define that great Love; a love greater than that of a Father or a Mother, Brother or a Sister, Husband or a Wife.
Our Love is conditional but God’s love is an unconditional Agape love.
God is Love, that’s His character and I strongly believe that is what sustains us every single moment. He loves us because we are created by Him in His image for His glory.
This means He loves literally every single individual, nobody is exempted, no one is disqualified; no matter how crazy it sounds, that is the basic truth.
Irrespective of your background, the language you speak, the clothes you wear, your beliefs, your circumstance etc, God looks at each of you as His masterpiece, His priced possession far worth more than any valuable treasure in this world.
“that He GAVE”
Do you ever look at an ant on the floor and think of giving something to it? They are so tiny that we don’t ever care if they are around.
If we could ever get an opportunity to look at this earth we live in from a considerably far off distance, we will realize that we are just a speck, much smaller than even an ant, almost negligible.
But the verse says that this Great Big God didn’t just love this tiny speck that we are but also decided to ‘give’. I feel so humbled, blessed, fortunate, honored and favored just to know that God is so interested in you and me that He would go to any lengths to simply get our attention, draw us back to Him.
To what extent is that love which He has for us? Well, to the extent that He gave….
“His one and only SON”
I can stay speechless for hours just thinking of this precious gift. He gave us the very best, not close to the best but ‘the best’ gift.
For the fallen mankind who became rebellious towards the creator God, living in disobedience and trapped in sin, a sin that has no other penalty other than death. The good God meant for His creation (us) we turned into evil by killing, stealing, abusing and committing the worst sins possible.
We were destined to die for the penalty of our sin. God had to choose someone else to take up our sin and die in our place, someone who himself has never sinned. And who else could ever take that place?
His one and only son, Jesus Christ was the perfect candidate to take that place… and so the unconditional love of God compelled Him to give Jesus to us.
Hebrews 10:14 says
It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. (The Bible)
He suffered the most terrible death recorded in human history as a ransom for our sin and wrong doings.
But the most amazing thing is that He rose again from the dead on the third day, defeating death and the devil. The empty tomb still exist in Israel to prove that all of this is not just a story by a true event back in history.
“that whoever BELIEVES in Him”
Who said we have to feed a 1000 people or climb Mount Everest or walk 1000 miles to receive this great gift from God. All it says is to believe.
It wouldn’t cost you anything to do that yet for most, it seems to be the most difficult thing to do. What is stopping you? What are the doubts or confusion clouding your head?
All you need do is just believe in your heart that Jesus died for you, repent of your sins and follow him wholeheartedly, that’s all it takes.
“shall NOT perish”
For those who believe in Him are rescued from hell, from the destruction of your soul, from the fiery furnace, from meaningless life, from eternal death and condemnation.
“but have eternal LIFE”
The promise is what matters the most; a life beyond death, a joy beyond measure, a peace that passes all understanding and freedom from the bondage of sin and death. There is no better proposition. It doesn’t get better than this.
God promises us life in abundance; hope and a bond restored back to Him if we only receive the truth, confess our sins and believe with all our heart.
King David in Psalms 34:8 says
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” – The Bible
If you still have doubt than God even invites you to reason with him, Isaiah 1:18 in the bible says
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – The Bible
Christmas just cannot be enjoyed or celebrated without knowing the truth behind it. And the truth is
“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” – John 3:16
Merry Christmas and a Big God bless you.