“To you who have lost hope, who have shame, heartbreak, and a trail of wrongs: God loves you.” —Charles R. Swindoll
Christmas is simple. There’s a virgin, a baby, a bewildered husband, a dirty manger, a few shepherds, some travelling magi, and that’s all there is to the familiar story, right?
Christmas represents the most magnificent message that’s ever been told, which so far exceeds the details we have memorized. Unfortunately, most people don’t pause to think about the significance of the message.
Yes, a baby boy was born to a virgin in a dirty stable, but this baby boy was not just any baby. He is God in the flesh—Immanuel, God with us.
Let’s cut to the chase. The reason for the Christmas story and the mysterious baby born in the manger comes down to three words: God’s astonishing love. To drive home the importance of believing these words, we must re-examine one of the most familiar verses in the whole Bible, John 3:16, and connect it to the Messiah’s birth.
Before God gave His only Son to be born, He loved. Because love is an essential part of His character, God’s love is unconditional. Love is just as much a part of God’s being as holiness, truth, justice, eternality, goodness, faithfulness, and all the rest of His attributes. Out of His being, God loved and therefore, He gave.
God’s love extends to every person around the world, from those with great notoriety and wealth living in big cities, to the unknown and poor in the middle of nowhere. God’s unconditional love for the whole world resulted in the sacrifice of His Son, with whom He shared perfect fellowship and love from eternity past. And nothing will ever cause God to withdraw His love from those who believe in Jesus.
Many people, Christians or not, live their lives feeling defeated, guilty, and unloved by God. For those of us who know God’s love, now is the time to meditate on it and thank God for it. For those who have never known unconditional love, make this Christmas the one in which you truly accept God’s astonishing love through Jesus Christ.