What's not to like about Christmas? We all enjoy getting gifts. Most of us have experienced that rush that comes with opening a gaily-wrapped package that comes from a loved one.
Doubtless we have all experienced how that excitement diminishes with time. Over time the shine dulls, the new becomes old, and that treasured possession we were so excited about in the beginning gathers dust in the corner.
Not so with the first gift that kicked off the season 2000 years ago. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
What motivated that first gift? Love—the same impulse that impels most of us to give gifts to our children. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son...." (John 3:16 NIV)
Why would he give such a gift? Salvation. God gave his Son "...that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
Why was such a gift necessary? Sin and separation from God. "[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...." (Rom. 3:23 NIV) And "all" means everyone. "There is no one righteous, not even one....All have turned away...." (Rom. 3:10,12 NIV)
What are the consequences of our sin? Death. "For the wages of sin is death...." (Rom. 6:23 NIV)
What is the solution to our sin problem? Jesus, God's gift to us. "[B]ut the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 6:23 NIV) "[W]e were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions...." (Eph. 2:3-5 NIV)
How do we accept God's gift? By grace through faith. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV)
Unlike other gifts, the gift of God's Son never malfunctions. It never becomes obsolete. It is like the Energizer Bunny. It keeps going and going. "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all...." (Rom. 6:9-10 NIV) "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God...." (1 Pet. 3:18 NIV)
So enjoy the holidays. Accept your Father's gift. And have a Merry Christmas.