Do you remember your first Christmas? I don’t remember my first Christmas (I wasn’t even a month old), but I do remember the feeling of waking up every Christmas to a bunch of gifts! It’s no secret that as we get older, we tend to get further and further away from that childlike magic of opening gifts on Christmas. This is partly because we learn it’s often better to give than it is to receive, and we start to realize we really don’t need all of the “stuff” that’s typically bought and gifted. Don’t get me wrong…I still love a good Christmas present, but in spiritual maturity, I have become much more thankful for the greatest gift I ever received.
What is arguably the most common Bible verse known to the world is often the most overlooked. You know the verse I’m talking about! John 3:16 (KJV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” A key word in this scripture that is often overlooked is the word “begotten.” To beget something is to produce of the same kind as yourself. The Latin word for beget is “generabis”, which means “to descend from.” God did not just create an infant named Jesus to come into the world to die for our sins on a cross, He produced a version of Himself (in human form) so we could best understand who God really is and the love that he has for the world. God didn’t just write a book for us on how to ride a bike and send it to us in the mail via the USPS, UPS, or FedEx. He came over to our house and fell off the bike with us time and time again until we learned how to get our balance. That’s love.
A little baby born in a manger in Bethlehem was to be a Savior, the likes of which the world had never seen. Jesus is the greatest gift ever given because He’s the gift that keeps on giving. When you receive God’s gift of Jesus, you receive the gift of life. As C.S. Lewis says in his book Mere Christianity, “Your real, new self will not come when you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.” My prayer for you this Christmas, and every future Christmas, is that you take time to be thankful for how much God loves you and how much He loves everyone around you. We may not remember OUR first Christmas, but may we never forget THE first Christmas and the greatest gift that keeps on giving.