Jesus’ favorite Christmas gift

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God gave His Son many gifts that first Christmas. There was brand new vernix-creased skin with tiny toenails and none-like-them fingerprints, baby limbs to stretch and carry him through his years of adventure. There were arms to cradle him, milk to fill his tiny belly, and out in the dark, unseen by his baby eyes, angels sang over him and a special star took its place to mark his identity.

But Jesus’ favorite gift was one that he was still talking about three decades later – still giving thanks for it, delighting in it, praying for his Father to protect it. It was a gift that He would grow into and one that would grow with him, a once-in-a-lifetime present which delighted him so deeply that he would shape his whole life around protecting it, loving it, guaranteeing that it would be his forever.

It was a gift that the Father loved with his whole heart too – loved as much as He loved His Son. No small gift, this. No half-hearted giver here.

The Father gave what He loved most, next to his Son.

The Son received it with delight, with His whole self, setting His entire being apart to become one with it, to enjoy and give Himself to this gift that was given to Him.

That favorite gift?

It was you.

(John 17)