Despite the restrictions, I hope you will still have the pleasure this Christmas of both giving and receiving gifts. Sometimes we can be given something useful, such as a new kettle or warm socks, or it can be some luxury such as perfume or a favourite DVD, wine or chocolates. But we all know that the reason for giving is the important thing; the present is just a token of the love we feel in both the giving and in the gracious receiving of the gift.
And Christmas is a celebration of the greatest gift that was ever given to you or to me or to anyone. God gave His only Son, who grew from a baby, born in Bethlehem, to mature manhood. He fully loved and obeyed his Father and showed in what he said and did what his Father was like – kind, compassionate, loving, merciful, powerful and gracious. But Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders at the time, and he submitted to their cruelty and to death by crucifixion. Because he was completely sinless, he did not deserve to die (as we all do) and he was raised from the dead to live for ever. He defeated sin and conquered death, and opened up the possibility for all of us to believe in him and trust that he has the power to save us from death too when he comes again, as he promised to do.
‘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’. (John 3, 16)