Sitting in my easy chair one evening, the thought came to me: A devotion for Christmas Day is really a special opportunity (for me) to present a devotion on my favorite passage of Scriptures. It is probably the first passage I committed to memory as a child, and I keep referring back to it in my devotions, sermons, and occasional papers. I’d like to share it with you (again) because it is the reason for my becoming a pastor, writing my sermons and devotions, and simply because I feel like it. It is also one of the best known passages of Scripture. So, here it is as a reminder of who our God is, and what He has done for us and our everlasting salvation.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

God is a just and holy God who hates sin and blesses true good. He defines “good” as doing His will, and “evil” as breaking His commandments in thought, word, or deed. He applies this standard equally to all people, including His own Son Jesus, who willingly took on human flesh and blood so that He could do for mankind what mankind was incapable of doing. Verses sixteen and seventeen of our reading tell us this: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

We, sadly enough, have not been “good little boys and girls.” We have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and the things we have left undone; so, we need what God gave on that first Christmas. We need to hear time and again what Jesus said in verse 18 of our reading: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” So, we return to verse 16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

With this, I wish you all a joyous, forgiving holy-day! MERRY CHRISTMAS!