January 5: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

JOHN 13:34–35

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

Consider This

Christmas Day and my birthday are a mere thirty-four days apart. When I was a kid I leveraged this to my advantage. There was a limit to the cash value my parents were willing to spend on presents for both events. So I would always ask for one item way beyond that limit, like my first record player with dual-cassette and six-inch subwoofers. They would say no, then I would cut a deal that it would count as both my Christmas and birthday present.

They’d agree, and on Christmas I’d celebrate my big gift. But by the time my birthday rolled around five weeks later, my mom would say, “He can’t not open something on his birthday,” and so I’d get another present.

Christmas was the gift that kept on giving.

While this was a scam, the Christmas season is not. So what happens next? It’s easy to move and forget the mission once the decorations are back in the boxes and gifts are either returned, exchanged, or have already found their way into a drawer, never to be seen again.

But this entire Advent and Christmas mission has really just been preparation for the gifts that keep on giving.
What’s the first gift?

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

What’s the gift that keeps on giving?

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

J. D. Walt calls John 3:16 the first half of the gospel, and 1 John 3:16 the second half. And here’s the ultimate mission goal: J. D. says that when the world sees us give our lives to the second half of the gospel, they’ll believe the first half.

So come, let us adore him.