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What was the best Christmas you ever had? For most of us, it was the Christmas we got the greatest gift we wanted more than any other.
It was the Christmas you got Barbie with all her accessories or you got G.I. Joe and all of his equipment. Perhaps you got that mink coat or diamond ring or that little boy or girl you wanted more than anything else.
Gift giving is as much a part of Christmas as is Jesus Christ. This is the season that we celebrate God’s gift of the Christ child, the only begotten, to the world. This gift of God is the greatest gift of all.
That’s because it is the gift of life. John says that in Jesus was life (1:4a). Life, as God intended, is to be lived in relationship with God. If we’re not in relationship with God, we’re nothing more than the living dead. Jesus offers us life in relationship with God.
The gift of God’s only begotten Son is the gift of light. John says that the life was the light of humanity (V.4b). However, life lived in relationship with God requires some direction, some teachings, some commandments.
Jesus is our direction, the compass for our way. Jesus shows us how to live life in relationship with God. He shows us how to walk in the light.
Then, the gift of God’s only begotten is the gift of love. For God so loved the world, John says in chapter 3, that God gave the world the only begotten of God. The gift of God’s Christ is the proof and the tangible evidence of God’s love for us.
The gift of the only begotten, says Philip Wogaman of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., is God’s way of showing God’s love to us. God does not fax, email, tweet or text the message of divine love. Rather, God delivers the message of divine love in person by God’s presence.
It is the only way, Wogaman says, that we could have gotten the message. The essential truth about life had to appear in human form in order to touch us.
One Christmas my son, Kelvin, wanted a Nintendo 64. He already had a Sega Game Boy and a Nintendo, but Nintendo 64 was the new game and he wanted one of them.
I tried to reason with him. At that time, the system cost $129 plus the games were $60 each.
I suggested that we get new games for his old Nintendo system which was working just fine.
But days later while shopping, the ‘Christmas spirit’ hit me and I purchased the Nintendo 64 and games unbeknownst to him. When he saw that Nintendo 64 and those games on Christmas morning, he said something that I have never forgotten. He said, “Daddy, you must really love me.”
This is what God has done in giving us the only begotten. God has shown God’s love for us. God has affirmed God’s presence with us.
Jesus is the greatest gift of all because He is our Emmanuel.
He is God with us. Amen!