This verse is well-known among Sunday School children. It is perhaps the most foundational verse in the Bible. The entire Christian faith is established in the simple truth of this one verse. Ask any Christian who has been a Christian for more than six months to quote John 3:16 and nearly every one of them can say it verbatim without even thinking about it. Yet perhaps few really do take the time to think about it. This verse is often casually overlooked rather than esteemed as a profound revelation of who God is. It has become a cliché among God’s people.
Likewise, the celebration of Christmas has become so commercialized and Americanized that the original heart of the holiday season often goes unnoticed. The twinkling lights on the tree and strung in the front yard sometimes outshine the Light of the World. The mashed potatoes and the pumpkin pie have replaced the Bread of Life. The leg of lamb replaces the Good Shepherd. And the childhood fables of Santa Claus and his reindeer have replaced the Truth that still reigns.
The fact remains that Jesus is the reason why Christmas exists. Yet the giving of gifts and singing of carols can easily far outweigh the time invested in meditating on the ultimate gift that God gave to mankind. Some, in fact, do not accept the gift of God’s Son and celebrate Christmas as if it were just another event like the Super Bowl or Groundhog Day. Removing Jesus Christ from the equation is like eliminating the final touchdown pass that scores the winning point. The game is left hanging with no resolution. Everyone goes home wondering who really won.
But Christians know who wins. John 3:16 states, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Whomever chooses out of their free will to call upon the name of Jesus Christ is given the promise of life. That’s the winning pass! There is no freedom outside of Christ, only bondage. There is no joy outside of Christ, only sorrow. There is no forgiveness of sins outside of Christ, only condemnation. And there is no life outside of Christ, only death both in this life and for eternity. Because God so dearly loved and had compassion for mankind, He not only gave the gift of His Son Jesus Christ but also everything that Jesus' name represents. And the condition to receiving salvation is to receive the Savior.
This holiday season, when the gifts are opened and the dinner plates are empty, take time to reflect on the most incredible gift ever given: the Redeemer.