Our living room looks warm and cosy right now. The tree is set up. The lights are twinkling. There are gifts wrapped up under the tree. Our calendar is filled with Christmas events: something to take the children to, something for us to attend, something that I need to host.
But in all this hustle and bustle, I want to take time to really allow the message of Christmas to sink into the crevices of my soul. Why do I celebrate Christmas? Why is this even important to me? Why is it central to my belief in my God? I write this article as a reminder for myself.
Recently, I attended a counselling training session here in Delhi. Every day was refreshing and revitalising; I seemed to be lapping up some new truth. One illustration that the trainer shared left me with my mouth wide open and my eyes popping out. She illustrated 1 John 3:1 with an imaginary story. Now, I have read this verse multiple times but it had never excited me like this before. The verse says,
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are . . . ”
So what? I knew this verse. I had memorised it multiple times as a child and also as an adult. Yes, I knew that I was a child of God. I had heard sermons preached on it. But allow me to share the story that I heard.
She told us to imagine a family having a conversation with the Virginia Tech killer. Imagine that the killer didn’t shoot himself, that instead he was in jail. Now, parents who lost a child in the massacre come to visit him in jail. They tell him that their daughter died in the shooting but that they forgive him. They also tell him that they have the best lawyer working on his case to get him out of jail. Then they say that their son is willing to complete the rest of his sentence for him. But they don’t stop there, they have a room for him in their house and they want to adopt him as their son!
On what planet does such kind of love exist? Who would do something like that for a murderous, heartless killer? And yet, that is exactly what God did for me when He sent Jesus as a helpless little baby two thousand years ago. When he saw me helplessly fighting sin, struggling with eternal damnation and sentenced to death, He sent his only son, Jesus, to save me from my sin and to rescue me from death and eternal separation from God.
And He didn’t stop there -- He went on to adopt me as his child! When John talks about us being adopted as children of God, this is how excited he probably was.
So this season, in the middle of shopping, cooking and hosting I allow this truth to sink in. I pause and reflect on God’s great love for me. I remind myself why I celebrate Christmas -- because of this great love.