For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Have you started planning your Christmas gifts? Do you have the shopping list made yet? Are you still figuring out what to buy for each of your loved ones? Or, maybe you are a super planner who already has everything bought and neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree, which you put up the first week of November.

It’s funny how something like decorating or shopping for Christmas presents can be so fun and enjoyable for some, and so stressful and daunting for others. From the super planner to the last-minute procrastinator, wherever you find yourself landing, hopefully you can use the opportunity this year to remind others of why it is that we generously give: because so much has been given to us. Our giving is but a shadow of the gift we have been given from God.

The greatest gift of all did not come finely wrapped in packages and bows, but in humble swaddling clothes. This is the gift of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. There are many gifts one may desire this Christmas season, but Jesus is the only gift we truly need. We must be careful to not get lost in the shuffle of holiday to-do’s that we forget the true meaning behind our celebration. Take time this season to meditate on the fact that those in Christ have been freely given eternal life through Him.

• How might you seek to cultivate lasting joy in Christ this advent season and beyond?

• What does the gift of Christ indicate about the type of love God has for His people?

• Pray and thank God for the love He has shown us by sending us His Son, that we might have eternal life.