Read: John 3:16
Because only Matthew and Luke tell the “Christmas Story,” we sometimes neglect the Gospel of John during the Advent Season. But let’s not overlook the quintessential Christmas verse, John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Although it is beyond my ability, I have often tried to imagine what it must have been like for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to part company; for God to send his son to earth in full knowledge of the suffering he would endure here. Surely the angels held one another, or buried their heads in their wings and wept. Why would God put heaven through it? John tells us plainly – because he loves us. We, the world, had rebelled against our father’s love, and had broken the relationship beyond our ability to repair it. Our rebellion had turned us into ugly versions of ourselves, deviant creatures who had lost the capacity to recognize our own creator. The Father, Son and Spirit could not bear our suffering, so the Son accepted his. God’s brutal sacrifice is our “Joy to The World.” He did it so that whoever believes can have eternal life. The Apostle Paul would later refer to “whoever believes” as God’s chosen people, holy, and dearly loved (Col. 3:12). And that we are, very dearly loved.
May every gift we purchase, wrap and give be a genuine reflection of the love that traveled through space and time to give us life.
Respond: Spiritual Exercise for week of December 1, 2013
Take a few minutes away from preparing meals and shopping for the perfect gift, and find a quiet place to sit. Read John 3:16 aloud and repeatedly. Let it penetrate the noise and rush of the season and choose to believe. Sometimes it helps to involve your body. Open your hands palms down to release all of your expectations and anxieties for this season. When you feel you have “let it go,” turn your palms upward to receive the gift of your savior, Jesus Christ. Believing, you can receive this generous gift, and speak your gratitude in prayer.