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,