For many of us, Christmas was all about presents when we were children. We were obsessed with writing our most detailed Christmas lists to ensure we got exactly what we wanted from our parents, family members, and even Santa Claus. As we got older, though, we learned that part of the beauty of Christmas is giving to others. We began to experience the truth that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35b
However, what if it turns out that Christmas really is about receiving? We may not get as many presents as when we were kids, and we might get more household items or home improvement tools than toys. But, when you look at it, the very first Christmas 2,000 years ago was about receiving the greatest gift we could ever ask for—Jesus.
That gift was a promise hundreds of years in the making. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Esther, David, all the judges and prophets, and the entire nation of Israel—they all had a promise of love from God to look forward to in the prophecy of a Messiah.
What those Israelites of old hoped for is what was clearly demonstrated for us on the cross. Today, we can look back and see the extent of God’s love, that He sent His one and only Son to die for us and save us from sin and death:
- “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.” John 3:16
- “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
- “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16aNIV
John, one of Jesus’ disciples, takes that truth even further by saying, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins….We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:9, 19). In these verses, John is proclaiming that true love is not found in our love for God but in God’s love for us. He explains that we do not have real love to give to God or others unless we first receive the love God extends to us through Jesus.
So even though we’ve grown older and have learned the blessedness of giving, we will only be able to give if we first receive God’s love. Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Luke 18:17
We must believe, with childlike faith, in God’s love for us demonstrated in the gift of Jesus. When we believe in Jesus and enter into a personal relationship with Him, God continually pours out His love on us (Romans 8:32). So Jesus is not only our ticket into Heaven, but He also wants us to experience the blessedness of God’s love as daily we run to His open arms.
God longs to show us “the surpassing riches of His grace” (Ephesians 2:7). He longs for us to run to Him as children, trusting in His goodness and kindness and desire to give good gifts to His children. He aches for us to come to Him and accept His love, whether it’s our first time or we’re coming back for more.
So, this Christmas, what if you tried being a kid again? As you buy and wrap your Christmas presents for others, prepare the food, and clean the house (all forms of giving to those you love), what if you slowed down enough to reflect on the gift of Jesus and really receive the love of God through His Christmas gift to you? Only then will you be filled up with love to, in turn, give to others.
Today, revel in the fact that God loved you to the utmost—He gave you Jesus! He loves you!
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b–19
If you would like to know more about this promise of love, we would love to talk with you. Just text the name “JESUS” to 901901. Click here to discuss Advent as a family using Fight for Your Family resources.