Some years back the TV chef, Nigella Lawson, told the nation that Christmas would not be Christmas without her glazed ham, and that the season was summed up by her prune cake.
For all her cooking prowess I would have to say that Nigella was talking nonsense.
As a Christian I want to declare that Christmas would not be Christmas without what many consider to be the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one & only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”.
These 26 words in John's gospel sum up Christmas far more than any glazed ham or prune cake.
Consider the first two words of John 3:16: “For God”.
These two little words teach one of the great themes running throughout the Bible, namely salvation begins with God.
The Bible teaches that because sin separates and cuts us off from God, we are incapable of seeking God.
The prophet Isaiah puts it, “we all like sheep have turned” away – turned away from God.
Therefore, in order for us to be right with God God Himself had to make the first move; He had to do something for us that we could not do for ourselves.
God has done something and has made the first move: “For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son so that we might not perish”.
When we were unable to reach God, God reached us.
Here is one of the fundamental differences between the Christian faith and other world faiths:
other faiths freely admit that their focus is on man's attempt to reach God. They will ask questions like: “What can I do to please God?
How can I win God's favour”?
The message of the Christian faith is the opposite; its message begins and ends with God reaching out to man. It could be said that the Christian faith begins with the first two words of John 3:16, “For God”. Without these two words, without God's intervention and initiative, there is no salvation.
John 3:16 tells us God's motive for reaching out to us. We are told His motive was love: “For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son”.
It has been said the word “so” here is an elasticated word, implying God's love stretches farther than anyone could know or imagine.
This Christmas many will try to find love in all the wrong places with all the wrong people, all the while missing the love of God.
As human beings we were made to love and be loved.
But we will never know true love unless we know the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ, who God sent into the world in order for Christ to give His life as a sacrifice for sin.
Perhaps someone reading this just now has never gave any thought to God, let alone God's love. However, as you consider John 3:16 God is perhaps whispering to you that the love spoken of in this verse, God's own love, is for YOU, that God “so loved You He gave His one & only Son, that if You believe in Him You shall not perish, but have eternal life”.
This Christmas may all celebrate and revel in the unsearchable love of God spoken of in John 3:16, a love that led God to send Christ into the world to save the world.
One Christian writer wrote: “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is everlasting life”.
Wouldnt everlasting life be a wonderful gift to receive