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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. --John 3:16-18
Paul Harvey once told the story of a family who kept the same tradition each Christmas Eve—the mother and children would go to the church service, and the father would stay home to read the paper. When the family returned home from church, they would all gather to open their presents.
The father no longer believed in the stories of God coming as a baby in a manger. As the family left for church one particular Christmas, the father opened the evening paper and settled in by the fireplace. Suddenly, he heard tapping on the window. A bird kept flying against the glass trying to get out of the snow and into the warmth of his home .
Feeling sorry for the bird, the man went outside hoping to bring it in. When he got closer to the scared creature, it flew against the window even harder. The more the man tried to capture the bird, the more it continued to fly into window. He yelled out in frustration, "Stupid bird! Can't you understand that I'm trying to help? If only you understood, you wouldn't fly away. If only I could become a bird, and get you to understand."
Just then the church bells rang, and the father fell to his knees, began crying, and said, "Oh God, I didn't understand."
God's Son came in human form that we might understand from where we came, for what reason we were separated, and how we can be restored to God. Christmas isn't about empty promises of material gifts, holiday icons, or seasonal sights and sounds. It is about a fulfilled promise of a restored relationship between God and humankind.
PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask God to strengthen your faith in Him, forgive you of your sins, restore you to a right relationship with Him, and give you joy this season.
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