I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I truly enjoy the opportunity to go to church to worship our beautiful Savior, and it is so nice to see all the families together in the sanctuary. Our church has three services each year on Christmas Eve, but this year we also had a service on Christmas morning since it was a Sunday. Our worship pastor expressed it so perfectly when he equated it with Easter. We get to celebrate Easter every year together in church, but it isn't very often that we get to to celebrate Jesus' birth on Christmas morning in church. How wonderful! To see what this means for us, please read John 3:16.
Our Christmas is full of traditions starting Christmas Eve by laying out cookies for Santa (even though the kids know that there is no Santa - they still enjoy going through the motions). On Christmas morning, I make monkey bread and we open our presents by following a modified German tradition; we hide a pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it first opens the first present (the true German tradition is that the person to find the pickle gets an extra present). We also go through our stockings, which the kids enjoy pretending was stuffed by Santa. Since we celebrate Christmas only once a year, our traditions are very special to us and allow us to enjoy the day all the more. We find ourselves anticipating celebrating Christmas with our traditions and it makes it even more fun and meaningful because it isn't just a rote activity.
The verse, John 3:16, is a verse that I have known since my preschool days. It would be very easy to say it by rote without really thinking about what that verse is telling me. It is part of my Christian upbringing, a tradition of sorts and could get lost in the commonplace files in my mind since it is an idea that I grew up with. The problem is that it is not a commonplace idea! This verse explains why Christmas is so special to us and it is what I am looking at all week as part of my Only God study. I am studying the truth that only God can save us. In this verse we hear the truth that whoever believes in Jesus (God's Son) will not suffer an eternal death but will live an eternal life. That is an amazing promise that we stake all our hope in!
There is so much amazing hope in this one verse - God loves us! Isn't it wonderful to know that our Creator loves us? In fact, we learn in Ephesians 3:18-19 that we can never fully understand the greatness of His love for us, but we can experience it. We also learn in John 3:16 that out of His love, God gave us His One and Only Son. This week, I plan to explore even more what that means. This verse tells us that anyone who believes in Jesus will experience eternal life. This means anyone one in the world...this is not meant for the really good people who have earned His love. This means that anyone, no matter what they have done, can have this gift. How amazing!
What do you stake your hope in?
Linking up with The Beauty In His Grip.