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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Gift of Christmas … God Gave

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…
John 3:16

So, what’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever given? When we were first married, we were poor as church mice. With my husband in school and my salary $350 per month, there was not much leeway for gift giving. By December 2nd—yes, 23 days to shop ladies—I was scratching my noggin. How creative, and cheap, could I be? After much angst I finally decided the best thing I could give my hubbie was my love. I festively wrapped a box with a love note in the bottom. And that is his Christmas gift to this day.

Was I motivated by love? Of course I was. Did I give my best? I thought so. What did it cost me? In terms of money, not a penny; however, true love does not come cheap.

Now consider God who gave the most expensive, best gift He could possibly give—His Son, a part of Himself. I think about Abraham’s willingness to give his son Isaac to God and I shudder. No way could I do the same. My son is a part of me.

Jesus’ descent from heaven to earth would cost Him His life. But not only His life. For three hours He would lose His oneness with the Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).

Once motivated by love, God had to pull up mercy and grace and forgiveness from the depths of His being. In The Reason for God chapter 12, Keller raises the question: Why did Jesus have to die? Why not just forgive? Seems simple. Suppose your child drops your heirloom crystal vase. With great remorse she says she’s sorry; you say I forgive. Nevertheless, it has cost you something. The vase is irreplaceable.  

The rift incurred by original sin was irreparable, the cost enormous, the result death. And who could pay for death? Only Jesus. Only He could absorb sin after sin after sin, each sin a brick in the wall between us and a holy God. Only then would death crumble.

As Charles  Wesley (1738) wrote; “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” Whew! Thank you Jesus.

Nancy P

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