For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about Christmas a lot. It’s my most favourite time of the year. I have fond and funny Yuletide memories… My uncle streaking across our front lawn, early morning, in his boxer shorts, chasing after my aunt’s escaped budgie. My first swimming lesson in my great-aunt’s pool. Laughter, food, family, presents…
I even remember, as a lonely young child, sitting in front of the Christmas tree and praying to a God I didn’t personally know yet, only a vague idea He existed, asking him for a sister and brother – which, many years later, I got.
Now why am I thinking about Christmas at Easter time?
One gift I really wanted, with my whole little girl’s heart, was a train set. A train set with the works – the tunnels, the little town buildings, people, cows grazing in the fields, signals, miniature trees – everything. It was the one gift I never got. No-one gives a girl a train set. Ah, the longing to find that wrapped up under the tree! I can still feel the hankering, the earnest wish within.
Then it dawned upon me. Jesus Christ is the biggest gift I’ve ever received, will ever receive. The train set with all the works. The best thing ever. When he died on the tree – I got two gifts. He died the death I should have died. And not only that, he took my sin nature and gave me his nature. An exchange. Undeservedly. A beautiful, precious gift of love.
Good Friday would have been the day my life should have ended. But I get to live. And not a grotty, meaningless existence – but a life filled with love, unpacking the gift that is Jesus himself, day by day.
‘…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 6:23b)