“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
While on my drive home the other day from shopping on Black Friday, I did some soul-searching. To say I love giving gifts is an understatement, if it could be considered a hobby, then I would claim it for sure. Yet, as my husband says, “my giver is greater than my gotter.” In other words, I have had to learn to adjust my giving because my “gotter” just can’t keep up.
I love that, like me, God LOVES to Give! And when He thought of what we most needed and wanted, He didn’t let His “gotter” dictate the gift. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….” (John 3:16). He didn’t look at what He could afford to give, He gave what it would hurt most to give, His only Son, Jesus. And unlike me, God was not impulsive with His decision, this was His choice from the start. In fact, 700 years before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah prophesied about God’s gift to us, “For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6). It’s easy for me to associate Christmas with giving and receiving from one another, but this year I am setting my heart towards receiving from the One whom Christmas originated. Today I am thinking, not only of the gift of Jesus, but of the Giver, God, His Father.
I wonder what it was like for Him to send His Son to us, knowing how misunderstood He would be, how He would become, “despised, rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) and knowing that one day we would hate Him so much that we would strip Him naked, mock Him, spit on Him and nail Him to a Cross.
Could you send your child into a situation like that?
And yet God KNEW and sent Him anyway. Isaiah 53:11 says, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him, he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring and prolong his days.”
That word, “offspring” refers to you and I (and everyone who is willing to receive God’s gift). God, the Father, was faced with the tragic decision of having to choose to either watch one child suffer the most horrendous death ever known on earth, or to watch all of us suffer it, as well as be eternally separated from Him. And His choice?, “For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only Son, the whoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
This year, as I unwrapped my nativity, I found that I didn’t experience that same nostalgic Christmas feeling. Instead, I wondered.
I wondered what it was like for God. As He heard the angels singing and watched the once darkened world finally spark with real LIGHT. Was He celebrating? Maybe, like Jesus, He may have been seeking the, “joy set before him”, yet I imagine that, as any parent would be, knowing their child is going to place of great trial, testing, the likes from which they will never return the same, it was a sobering moment for Him. I wonder if, while the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and even the Wise Men were celebrating God’s good news, God, Himself shed a tear as He knowingly parted with His Son for the first time ever since, well, ever. We love baby Jesus, but I find myself especially fond of Father God this year, Who knowingly gave.