For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

—John 3:16 (King James Version)

Ok, yes, CHRISTmas is about celebrating baby Jesus’ birth, but let’s be honest. Isn’t it so easy to overlook His birthday? Seriously, most scholars don’t even believe Jesus was born anywhere near December, and there is always so much other stuff going on during the “holiday” season.

As a kid I really felt the magic of CHRISTmas, but it had only a little to do with Jesus and a lot to do with the fat man who came down my chimney and left lots of gifts for me. As I’ve grown older the magic of CHRISTmas sales have excited and enticed me. I mean seriously, how can you NOT get excited over 70% off?!?! You’ve seen my favorite things/wish list, right? I like nice things. I need to catch a sale!

And if Santa and the sales don’t excite you, I’m sure the socializing will. Everyone throws a party during CHRISTmas, and socializing…and spirits…are both at an all time high…and usually free of charge. We consume all of the gifts that Santa, friends, retailers, and work places give us, yet we over look the gift God has given us.

When God sent His Son to earth, to eventually die a gruesome death for sin, He did so as a personal gift for you. Rather you worship Him or not, God sent His Son to live and die for you and you alone. Yes, if you were the only person on Earth, God still would’ve sacrificed His Son for you. Yes, knowing everything about you and every bad thing you’ve done and will do, God wouldn’t have changed His mind about the gift He gave you.

As a parent, I’m amazed…because there’s no one in this world I would sacrifice my son’s life for…not my parents, not myself, not another child. So if God sacrificed His one and only Son for us, He must really think we’re special. God gave us this gift not to benefit Himself, but so we might be able to atone for our sins and commune with Him. You see, God gave the ultimate gift so that we could benefit from hanging out with Him.

We, on the other hand, shop and give gifts to all our family and friends, but when was the last time you thought of giving God a gift in return for what He’s given you? Not that we could ever pay Him back, but wouldn’t it be nice to give Him a gift back as a gesture of our appreciation for all He’s given to us.

When Elder Bernice King asked what I was willing to give to God, my answer was automatically. “If Jesus can give His life for me, the least I can do is live my life for Him.” Sounds pretty simple…and cliché…but what does it actually mean? It means I have taken the responsibility to be a living example of Christ in the earth. So in every situation, I must go out of my way to respond how He would. This doesn’t mean I’m perfect. But it does require I am self-sacrificing with a servant’s heart. It requires that I love like Jesus did, live like Jesus did, and lead like Jesus did. This is rarely easy when human emotions get involved. Trust me, I want to cuss more people than I want to love. But if God can give a life for me, I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to lay down my pride for Him.

This blog was inspired by Elder Bernice King’s sermon given at New Birth Lithonia on Sunday, December 19, 2010.