By Julia Keith
The first scripture verse I memorized was John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.” I thought I was entering a Sunday school competition.
I believed there was a reward based on the accuracy of my recitation. Motivated by the contest, I read this verse over and over. I practiced it every day. I had my mom check to be sure I knew every word. But, I hadn’t heard hear the directions correctly.
There wasn’t a prize—but a gift. One I didn’t quite understand. How could an only son be given away? Aren’t children too precious to abandon? How would believing make you live forever? Weren’t some of my grandparents already gone? Frustrated and befuddled, I put the gift away.
We do that. Limited by our human “abilities,” we put away things that challenge what we think we know.
Thankfully, God knows us and engages us in our confusion... Pursues us on our wayward path... Causes us to remember the promise of a faithful life. And, then, there is the gift, one given because of love.
We (the world) have been chosen to receive this gift. We (the church) have been commissioned to help the world seek answers to what is not yet understood.
Jesus Christ, the Answer, God’s Son, the Gift.
At Christmas, we celebrate the infancy of God’s miraculous gift. Because of God’s grace, we can reopen this gift, re-examine the contents and re-discover how believing brings relationship and how this holy relationship makes possible the ways of God’s love.
Praise God, for this Love! Praise God, for this Life! Praise God for this Gift! Praise God!