So! What was is your favourite television advert this Advent season? In recent years it has become quite a battle between the big retailers to produce the best commercial, as they try to entice us to part with our ‘hard-earned’. Many months of audience research, focus groups and production planning goes into each Christmas’s mini-epic, and the hope is that we’ll centre our seasonal spending in their store as a result.
The frontrunner in recent years has been the John Lewis advert, but this year’s hasn’t met with the same universal approval . Some people have thought it looked more like a commercial for the farewell tour of the singer who stars in it. Whether you like it or not may be determined by what you think of the singer or of his music. But the thing that struck me was not the music or the story but the advertising slogan at the end – “Some gifts are more than just a gift”. That’s worth thinking about on an entirely higher level.
Here we are at December again. Another twelve months have flown by since the magazine last had the traditional red cover, and hopefully your preparations for the festive season are well under way. The diary on the next page reminds us of the busy-ness of our Christmas season as a fellowship. That as well as all the commercialism of the season, mean that we can forget that Christmas really is about a gift. And this gift truly is more than a gift. His name is Jesus!
John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse of the Bible describes the Christmas story in terms of God giving; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Though the gift of Jesus came at the first Christmas, it was a gift that had been promised all through Old Testament times and planned even longer than that. The verse reminds us that we need this gift because without it we would be lost eternally – we would perish. The Bible tells us that this is because we have disobeyed God and fall short of His standards in our lives every day. Nothing we can do will ever merit God’s mercy or peace, and so we are dependent upon Him to give us what we need. In response to this, God in His grace gave the Lord Jesus not just to be born in Bethlehem at the first Christmas, but to die at Calvary and rise from the dead outside Jerusalem at the first Easter.
So, rather than dying eternally we can live eternally! If we believe in this great gift, and trust only Him for our salvation we can have God as our Father, the Lord Jesus as our friend, and everlasting life as our future. Our sins can be credited to His account and His perfect righteousness accounted to ours.
The John Lewis advert is right. Some gifts really are more than a gift. But whatever gift you receive this Christmas it will never measure up to God’s gift of Jesus and the many eternal gifts that come with Him!