‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ – John 10; 10bBy Martin Hayward
If you’re like the average family in this week after Christmas your house will probably be filled with an excess of torn wrapping paper waiting for the recycle bin, scraps of leftovers that will never actually be eaten and quite possibly the odd broken toy or electronic gizmo that has run out of battery power. After the fun of catching up with friends and families, they’ve all gone back home and to their own lives, perhaps leaving you with a rather sad hole in your heart as you ache for the next catch-up. And maybe you’re feeling bewildered as you wonder what the New Year will throw at us. Excited anticipation can so easily turn to sad disappointment.
But the great, wonderful, earth-shattering news is that Jesus (and He is, after all, the reason for the season) is the one good gift that just keeps on giving day after day, year after year and right into the eternity of heaven. So, before you take the tinsel down and hoover up the glitter, why not spend a little time pondering the promise of God’s Christmas gift to us, and resolving that this year you’ll hold those promises close in your heart to encourage you through the tough times… and to help you to stick close to him when things are going well.
The first – and greatest promise – is, of course, summed up so concisely in John 3;16: “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.” When we commit to following Jesus, he takes our hand and holds us tight right into heaven. This Jesus – Son of God and our brother – rose again from the dead and proved God’s ability to give new life where he chooses. And the Bible tells us that he chooses to give it to those who recognise Jesus as Lord and Master. THAT is the gift the world receives at Christmas.
But God is a realist – he knows us all too well! He knows that we sometimes stumble and fall, go through periods of doubt, temptation and uncertainty. But he promises that he will never leave us once we receive new life. He keeps on blessing! Maybe as we enter a new year you may empathise with the writer of Lamentations who felt that God had abandoned him, leaving him stumbling into darkness. But still he can say “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Lamentation 3; 21,22)
God’s promise is to keep on blessing us as he walks us through to eternal life. Let’s resolve to remember throughout 2021: Jesus is the one Christmas present that keeps on giving!