The Greatest Christmas Gift of All

by Dick Innes

Dr. David Sylvester tells how, "During World War II, a young Jewish man known as Solomon, his wife, and sons Jacob and David were subjected to the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp. Prisoners were forced to work torturous hours in the fields, or were burned to death in the ovens if found to be of little or no value as a worker. Little David had an injured leg, which required a brace rendering him unable to work in the fields. Upon his arrival from work, Solomon inquired of Jacob as to the whereabouts of his younger son, David, and the boys' mother.

"Jacob whimpered, 'The soldiers came to take David to the ovens, and mother went with him so that he would not have to go alone.'"1

One can’t even begin to imagine the distress that Solomon must have experienced at such a time of tragic loss—of both his wife and his son—caused by the brutality of Hitler’s merciless killers.

At the same time one can’t help but be deeply moved by the compassionate love of David’s mother who willingly gave her life so that her son would not have to go to the death chambers alone. What incredible love—a living example of what God’s Word has said: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”2

And this, dear reader, is precisely what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did for you and me at the first Christmas 2,000 years ago when he laid aside his external robes of deity and, clothed in a garment of human flesh, left the ivory palaces of Heaven and came to earth as a babe, born in Bethlehem, with the purpose of giving his life so that you and I would never have to face death alone; that is eternal death.

There is no greater love than to
lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

At every Christmas we are reminded how Jesus Christ loved us so much that he came to die in our place alone on the excruciatingly painful Roman cross to pay the penalty for all your sins and mine so that we could be freely forgiven by God, receive his gift of eternal life, and never have to face eternal death which is eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life, in the place God’s Word, the Bible, calls Hell.

The Bible describes hell as a place of utter [spiritual] darkness … also as a lake of fire that burns day and night forever. Whether this is literal or figurative I do not know. What we do know is that Jesus described hell as a place of eternal torment. It is a place that was prepared primarily for the devil and his fallen angels/demons—and now a place to where those who have never received God’s forgiveness for their sins will be banned forever. It's not so much that God sends us to hell but that we send ourselves there when we don't heed God's warning and receive his forgiveness and his gift of eternal life.

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