Holidays are special times. They offer a brief respite from our regular routine. It’s a chance to get together with family and friends. Holidays give us an opportunity to forget about our cares, have fun and celebrate whatever.

We use holidays to commemorate special events, to ring in a new year, to show our love, to rest from our labor, to feast and help the less fortunate and to dress up in outrageous costumes.

But Christmas is different from all the other holidays. It’s about giving and receiving. It’s not about the gifts we buy and exchange with others, although we do a lot of that. It’s about the greatest gift that was ever given. Have you received it?

The God who created the universe, who set the stars in the sky and created us in His very image, sent His only son, Jesus, to save mankind. If we accept this gift, when we leave this earth, we will receive a new body, one that does not age or decay, so that we can spend eternity with our maker.

Does that sound like a fairytale? No, it’s a historical fact. There has been more written about Jesus than any other figure in the ancient world. The New Testament contains 27 different documents that were written in first century A.D., eyewitness accounts recording His words, attesting to His life, His miracles, His death and resurrection and the formation of the early church.

Furthermore, the existence of Jesus was recorded by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian who was born in 37 A.D.; Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman historian writing about the reign of Nero; the Roman historian Seutonius, who gave us “Life of Claudius” and “Lives of the Caesars”; and many, many other early works.

The Bible is God’s revealed word to us. Its unity, alone, reveals the hand of the Almighty. It was written over a span of 15,000 years, by more than 40 different human authors, on three different continents, by men of very different backgrounds. Its contents deal with many controversial subjects. However, from beginning to end there is one unfolding story: God’s plan of salvation for us. It is unlike any other book in existence, yet few people today have read it in its entirety, and even fewer have studied it. How shortsighted!

Nevertheless, God’s very existence is revealed to us in nature, giving us a perfect, orderly world. For example, if you saw a watch for the very first time, you would instinctively know that, somewhere, there is a watchmaker.

Paul, the principle author of the New Testament, a Jew who once persecuted Christians before he met the Lord on the road to Damascus, gave us a roadmap for faith and salvation in the book of Romans. He made that point in the first chapter. “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

The human heart also attests to the very existence of God. You might say that we were created with a God-shaped vacuum that simply cannot be filled any other way. Also, we were created with God’s moral compass. Again, Paul points out the obvious in Romans 2:14-15: “Even Gentiles who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”

What is your excuse for not getting to know the God who created you, who came to earth in the form of Jesus to pay the price for your sins and show you the way to salvation and eternal life?

Afraid He will spoil your fun? Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Afraid he will demand too much of you? Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Afraid you are not good enough? The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

In Romans 10:9, Paul tells us what we must do to accept this gift: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It’s the greatest gift of all, and it’s waiting for you.

Simply unwrap to have a truly joyous Christmas.

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