Today’s Bible Journaling comes from James 1:17, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (NLT) As I was reading this today, my first thought was, our good and perfect gift is Jesus. God gave us His Son as a gift for our salvation because He loves us.
I think especially at Christmas some tend to think only of the Baby in the manger and not think about why He came. The Christmas story for some is just a nice little story about a baby who was born in a stable and laid in a manger and was visited by shepherds and wise men. The core point of why He came as a baby never seems to come to their minds. For some, Jesus is left as a Baby in a manger, and His ministry and sacrifice don’t seem to have an effect. But for the Believer, Christmas and Easter is tied together. His birth, death, and resurrection complete the picture.
When I lived in Northern Wisconsin, I was choir director at our church. One Christmas we did a play/cantata called, “Born to Die.” The fact that those who played the acting parts were unable to memorize their lines and had to read from the script, did not deter from the message of the whole cantata. It was a powerful production relating a modern day “prodigal son” who, at the end comes home and finds his family at the Christmas service in church, he hears the Gospel from Jesus’ birth to His death and resurrection, is convicted, and turns his heart over to Jesus and finally comes home, repentant and forgiven. The production had an amazing effect on our congregation…people were weeping! You see, it wasn’t just a nice Christmas play, with the manger scene, it was the story of how God gave the gift of His Son to save a young man who had wandered far away from Him, and how He lovingly wooed that young man back to His side.
Jesus was a PERFECT gift because He “knew no sin” (II Corinthians 5:21). He lived a perfect, sinless life, yet was still human, experienced the things we experience, was tempted, was victorious over that temptation, and knows just what we endure on this earth. God’s requirement for punishment for our sins was perfection, spotless, and pure! Just as God required a blood sacrifice of a perfect lamb, “without spot or wrinkle” (Ephesians 5:27), Jesus is our Sacrificial Lamb. He willingly gave up His life so that we could have eternal life. He died because He loves us, and He wants to have a relationship with us. The following verse, James 1:18, says that we “became His prized possession.” He chose us to be one of His own, and He would give anything, including His Son, for us to be His!
All we need to do is accept His gift. Ask Jesus to live in our hearts, make Him Lord and Master, have complete control over our lives, and then live for Him for the rest of our lives. Salvation is so simple a small child can do it! Nothing complicated, just talk to Jesus, ask Him to live inside of you, ask forgiveness for your sins, and then choose to live for Him. When I was a Sunday School teacher for 4 and 5-year-old’s, this became so clear to one of my little ones. His face beamed as he said, “Jesus didn’t stay dead!” He not long after that accepted Jesus as his Savior at 5 years old. He understood that Jesus lives today. That was over 35 years ago, and although I’ve lost track of him, I’m hopeful that he remained true to his promise to live for Jesus and knows without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus lives in His heart and that he is a godly man today.
If you have never asked Christ to be your Savior, it isn’t too late to turn your life over to Him. He’s waiting for you to come home!