TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17 CSB)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Merry Christmas! We celebrate today because our Savior was born!
And so was I… today is my 45th birthday.
Fun fact: Christmas Day is the least common day to be born. Someone actually crunched the numbers of the most popular birthdates and Christmas Day came in last at 366. This means—it’s more common for people to be born on Leap Year than on Christmas Day (it ranked 347th). And if you’re curious, the most popular birthdate is September 9th. (The spreadsheet that put this information together must be glorious… I would have loved to have tackled that project.)
Despite the uniqueness of my birthday, for a long time, I didn’t like it. Other people get exited about it… If I have to give my birthdate to anyone, 99% of the time, the standard response is, “Oh, you’re a Christmas baby!” Yes, I am. And I was sent home from the hospital wearing a Santa hat.
It took me a while to recognize my Christmas Day birthday as a privilege. But now, I do see it as the honor that it is. I get to celebrate with Jesus! Having 45 birthdays in the shadow of Jesus’ birthday, I know firsthand in a big way that it’s exactly where I need to be. It’s where we all need to be. Every day, people need to see Jesus before they see us.
In Acts 20, Paul was preparing to travel and share the Gospel. In verse 23, he wrote that the Holy Spirit had warned him of the hardships he faced, but he said, “But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24 CSB).
The same holds true for us. We were created for a purpose. To worship God. But in His infinite love, He gives us the choice. If we choose ourselves, we will reap the eternal consequences of separation from God in hell. If we choose Jesus, then those eternal consequences mean an eternity of worship and fellowship with Him.
Despite what culture says, we are not our own. It isn’t about us because we were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). And what a costly price it was! Jesus came to earth as a baby and grew to be a man for the sole purpose of putting us first and Himself on a cross. Our need for salvation was so great that Jesus willingly stood in our place of punishment. And we certainly didn’t deserve His mercy and grace.
And not to take away from all the marvelous verses that speak of Jesus’ birth, today boils down to this: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17 CSB).
With grateful hearts, the least we can do is live for Him now. Because to live—to truly live—is to live for Christ (Philippians 1:21). He put us first once, and it’s our turn (and our choice) to put Him first now and forever.
It’s really mind blowing. Jesus, fully God and fully man, was born today because we needed a Savior. He didn’t come in any grandiose way, but in humility and simplicity. And what better way to say “thank you” than to give our lives to Him?
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for His birthday and what it represents. Thank Him for being the reason we celebrate today. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put Jesus first in your life so that when others look at you, they see Jesus first.