Christmas and the Kingdom of heaven are both for children. He made it very clear in Luke 18:17 when he said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” The conversation in which this comment was made was with the rich young ruler. He had it all and wanted to add to his account by buying his way into heaven. He asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus went through the list of things he could sacrifice until he got to the ultimate point, that if you wanted to buy your way into heaven or earn your admittance ticket, the cost would be very high. As a matter of fact the cost was always more than anyone could pay. When the rich young ruler got this point the bible says, “When he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”

It can’t be bought or earned, but it can be received as the great gift that it is. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” John teaches us that whoever “receives” Him, has the power to become children. It’s not those who understand Him. (I don’t think we ever will!). It’s not those who master the doctrines of the Christian faith. It’s not for those who wealthy, educated or sophisticated. On the contrary, it’s for those who accept God’s gift – it’s for children! Paul tells us that it’s not by works (or wealth) we are saved, but by God’s grace through faith. “It is a gift of God” and the only thing that can be done with a gift is to receive it, accept it. If we attempt to earn or deserve or buy it, we’ve missed the point entirely.

Receiving the Gift of eternal life and believing in Jesus are the same things. John’s Gospel makes that clear to us. It is saving faith that brings eternal life and opens the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven and makes Christmas what Christmas is really all about. John mentions eternal life about 35 times in His Gospel. The one who believes in Jesus has received Jesus and has in their possession the gift of eternal life. John 5:24 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life…” Only Jesus gives the gift of eternal life and to receive Him is to receive that Gift, because Jesus is God’s greatest gift of all. Christmas time is the celebration of God’s great gift to us – – His Only Son.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8