For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV).
You may have heard someone say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Christmas is about Jesus. God didn’t send an angel, prophet, assistant or representative. He sent Jesus. He came Himself. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …” John 3:16 (NLT).
Not only is Jesus the reason for the season; we are the reason for the season! He came so we’d understand Him and know how much He loves us. If it wasn’t for you and me there wouldn’t be Christmas. Why? Because we need what Jesus came to bring. And what did Jesus bring? His presence.
At Christmas time we’re looking for the perfect present. But the best expression of love isn’t our presents, it’s our presence. It’s being there. In November 1996 I immigrated to Canada from South Africa. The family were scheduled to join me two months later. You can imagine the circumstances: loneliness and longing on both sides of the Atlantic; love separated by the equator; hearts divided by the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Just before Christmas a letter arrived from my daughter Christie. She was eleven years old at the time. Opening the letter, I found a piece of red paper with a poem she’d written. This is her poem:
Twas Christmas Eve I do believe,
But still we were quite sad.
The tree was lit,
The stockings hung,
And all we missed was Dad.
Though we were in a summer clime,
We’d rather be with you this time.
Have a merry Christmas Dad
And a New Year too.
And don’t forget the child at home
Who’s thinking about you.
So as I kneel next to my bed
And pray a silent prayer
My thoughts are all for you Daddy,
For your good health and care.
I cried when I read: “And all we missed was Dad.” At Christmas people want our love, they want us to be there. 1 John 4:9-10 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love … that … God … sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (NLT) Pay attention to the phrase “showed how much he loved us.” Real love is something that’s shown. Real love is about giving; about sacrifice; about setting aside my desires, my needs, and my preferences to help someone else be all God meant for them to be. God showed how much He loved us by sending His “only Son into the world that we might have eternal life through Him.”
Even if you were the only person who lived in the world, Jesus Christ still would have come to earth to live and die for you so you could be with Him forever in Heaven. This is the purpose of Christmas. Jesus came because you matter to God. He came so you could experience His love for yourself, to let you know that you’re not alone in this world, and to be here for you.