It’s often when we’re celebrating Christmas that I consider how content we have become with receiving God’s gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus. We should certainly celebrate the gift of God’s grace through Jesus, but if that’s as far as we understand it, then we certainly need to consider how to be more like Jesus and focus less on ourselves.
John 3:16 makes it clear that Jesus was a gift of love, but God’s gift was not meant solely to be received; it was meant to be shared. Jesus told his disciples in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Just as Jesus was a gift of God’s love for the world, so we must be gifts of God’s love to the world.
That must begin within the church, among our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s easy to love God, the one who gives us extravagant gifts, but that should lead us to love others: “Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:21). Every Christian should have a deep sense of love and kinship with other Christians, knowing that God has done for others what he has done for each of us. It is because of God’s gift to every Christian that we should, as Paul writes in Philippians 2:3, “value others above yourselves.”
We should also be God’s gift of love to the world outside the church. Although we have claimed God’s gift through faith, God gave his gift to the world: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). If we have accepted God’s gift, then we are also expected to share that gift, and John tells us that in order for us to do that we must be more like Jesus: “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17).
As God’s children who have received the gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus, we should celebrate the birth of Jesus. Let us also remember Jesus’ words that Paul tells us in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Celebrate God’s gift by sharing it with others.