As a kid, I loved Christmas more than any other time of the year. It all started the day after Thanksgiving and lasted until the climactic Christmas morning. All of the anticipation in between, wondering what could possibly be wrapped in those mysterious boxes under the tree. I made it a point to be extra good during this time of year. Dishes would get washed, toilets scrubbed, and my room was near spotless. All for the sake of getting good presents and maybe getting to open one before Christmas morning. Sound familiar?
As I recalled the holiday season recently, I thought about how the people of the Bible felt. Before Jesus came to earth, there was no Christmas. It just didn’t exist. Yet, they still waited with anticipation. Their wait, however, consisted of a promise of a mighty King that would save them from the world. A Messiah that would heal them. A Counselor that would teach them how to live. The ancient texts had promised He was coming. So, they waited.
Their anticipation and mine are in stark contrast with one another. They dreamed of redemption, while I had visions of shiny new toys. They dreamed of freedom from their prisons, I had visions of what goodies would be in my stocking. I have grown older and no longer wait in expectation for toys or nick-knacks. I realize the greatest gift given to me—God’s love through His Son.
John 3:16 is likely the most popular and most recognized verse from the Bible. I also believe it is one of the most important ones, but it doesn’t end there. The verse right after this one also has a great impact on me.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
God gave Jesus as a sacrifice so I could have eternal life and so you could. He did not send Jesus to judge and condemn us, but so we could be saved by believing in Him. What a gift! God could not take the separation our sin had caused. He needed a solution to this dilemma of not being able to be in communion with us. Before Christ, it was necessary for a sacrifice of a clean animal in order to cleanse sin. After Christ, we are cleansed with His blood and our eternity sealed forever.
Jesus’ sacrifice was an eternal gift to be treasured and re-gifted to others.
That is the greatest gift that could ever be given. I truly realized the impact of this through my recovery journey. God worked through the final step in my recovery to reveal the impact of this truths. I accepted the truth before I started any 12-step program, but I have a deeper relationship and understanding as a result of working the steps. Jesus’ sacrifice was an eternal gift to be treasured and re-gifted to others. My recovery journey has been a gift of communion, relationship, and closeness with God as my Father. That is also a gift I will gladly share with others and give all the glory to God.
Take me to the next post in the series.
Think About It:
Think about the greatest gift you have received. What makes it pale in comparison the God’s gift of Jesus?
Recall the first time you accepted Jesus as the Messiah. How did this change your heart?
Jesus is said to be a gift we should also give away. Have you given this gift to others by sharing your testimony of faith? Why or why not?
Download the December Reading Plan© (subscriber password required) and Read John 3:16-17, Romans 6:23, 1 Peter 3:18, and Jeremiah 24:7
Journal About it:
Follow along in the My Journey Journal© (subscriber password required) and write about how the questions and scriptures today resonated with you. As you write, thank Him for showing you the way in your journey.
Pray About it:
As you think and write, say this prayer with me.
I praise You for sending your Son, Jesus to be a sacrifice and atonement for the sins of the world. I thank you for this precious gift. Guide my heart to continue to walk in Your ways and use the tools You provide me to remain confident in Your great love for me.
In Jesus' name,
Talk About it:
I would love to hear from you! I enjoy connecting and keeping in touch. Do you feel as though you don’t have anyone you can share with confidentially? Your anonymity is protected. Do you feel you are the only one struggling with the after-effects of growing up with an alcoholic parent? YOU are not alone! It’s time to break free from the shackles of your controlling habits, trust issues, co-dependency, guilt, self-blame, hurts, regrets, and heartaches! Your NEW Normal starts NOW!
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