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Christmas is About…Receiving?

I work in full-time campus ministry at Georgia Tech, and one of the highlights for me these past few weeks occurred on Thanksgiving Day. My wife Elizabeth and I invited a handful of grad students (mostly international students) over to our house to celebrate the holiday. During the party, a Chinese PhD student that I’ll call “John” shared with me some very exciting news. “I just received Jesus as my Lord and Savior!” John exclaimed.

This was especially exciting to me because I met John this past January in the Georgia Tech cafeteria. He was eating lunch by himself, and a friend and I sat down with him, ate lunch with him, and had a spiritual conversation. At the time, John said he didn’t know anything about Christianity or the Bible, but he said he’d be interested in attending my Bible study to learn more about God. John’s been a part of my Bible study ever since.

Fast forward a few weeks, and this morning I found myself reflecting on what God’s been teaching me and what Christmas is really about. I’ve been studying the book of John a lot this fall, and one particular passage came to mind this morning:

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.” (John 1:9-12, ESV)

As I was reflecting on this passage, it hit me that Christmas is about different things to different people. To some, it’s about family, which is good. To others, it’s about helping others and giving. These are good things as well, of course.

To my Chinese friend John, as he communicated to me a few weeks ago, Christmas ultimately is about receiving the light of the world. God’s own people, as the passage above indicates, didn’t receive this gift, and in a world full of distractions, busyness, and things that we tend to love more than God, it’s easy to miss out on the gift that God meant for us to have. The ultimate gift God wants us to have is experiencing his love.

What is Christmas about to you? Are you experiencing God’s love this week?

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photo credit: nancyhoang DIY Christmas Ornaments via photopin (license)


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About Chad Young

Chad Young works in full-time college ministry, serving as Cru Global’s national director over the southeast region, leading the ministries in FL, GA, AL, and MS. He has served on the staff of Cru for fifteen years. He is the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World (InterVarsity Press), a discipleship-training manual, and magazine articles for Worldwide Challenge and The Collegiate. He frequently speaks at retreats and conferences and regularly writes devotionals for his website, findingauthenticchristianity.com. Chad, with his wife Elizabeth, travels the country to speak at churches and train church leaders how to make Biblical disciples. Chad currently resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. His hobbies include cheering on his kids in sports, following college football, and laughing with family around the backyard fire pit.
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