I have an older brother. For arguments sake, let’s call him Tim (though more for truth’s sake as that really is his name). One Christmas, Tim organised a present for me. He wrapped it and  put it under the tree a few weeks out from Christmas. Each day he would draw my attention to it and encourage me to feel its weight and behold its size. The anticipation almost killed me. Finally the 25th of December arrived. The day was finally here. The anticipation would reach it’s satisfying end. Now, i should explain something about our family. We had a rule for Christmas day. We were allowed to open 1 present before Church, and then the rest would be opened afterwards.  I knew I wanted to open the present from Tim first. I grabbed it, and unwrapped a shoe box filled with gifts. I opened the lid of the box and proceeded to pull out…. a whole collection of stuff that had gone missing from my room a few weeks earlier. He had gone into my room and taken my stuff, wrapped it up, and given it to me at Christmas. My Christmas present from Tim was a box of things that were already mine and I didn’t need. WORST PRESENT EVER!

Fortunately, though, while my brother ruined one of my Christmases, the rest have always reminded me that God is far better than my teenage brother. Each Christmas I am reminded that God loved me so much that he had mercy on me. He saw that in my sin, I was separated from him and needed to know him again. This is why on that first Christmas he sent his Son Jesus into the world. It was to fix my sin… to remove it from the equation… to have its debt paid for through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The great news is that this isn’t just something for me. It’s something that is good news for all people, because all people suffer the same problem of sin and its effects. We all need the same thing, to be welcomed back by God, our Creator. Christmas is the celebration of the arrival of the one who would fix the problem. If you haven’t had the problem of sin dealt with, it’s something you need, and it is something God has provided a solution for. Make this Christmas the one where you receive the gift God is giving you… because it isn’t something you already have, but it is something you need.

Consider the word of John the apostle, who writes of the coming of Jesus into our world:

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God