The Gift of Jesus

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Let me share with you why Christmas means so much to me. It was on one Christmas Eve, more than 30 years ago when I received the gift that the first Christmas was all about. On December 24, 1975 I accepted Jesus in my heart through a childlike prayer of faith, and He became Saviour of my soul and Lord of my life.

On that wonderful evening, my eldest sister (a college freshman at that time), had a rare one-on-one talk with me in the bedroom that we shared as siblings.  She was holding a little yellow booklet in her hand. With enthusiasm and unusual kindness uncharacteristic of my “Big” sister, she walked me through the booklet, page after page, and gently explained to me selected Bible verses that spoke of how Jesus loves me and wants to have a personal relationship with me.

I wasn’t sure I understood every detail of that talk.  But one thing clear in my mind was that, if there was a throne in my heart, Jesus wasn’t the one sitting there! I was a teen-ager full of myself and took pride in my academic medals and many friends. I felt favoured by my parents because aside from getting high grades in school, I played piano pretty well and would render music (even though grudgingly at times) when they had guests at home, and this made them proud. I was confident about my own “goodness”.

As a devout Roman Catholic, I thought I knew enough about Jesus – in fact I was president of the club called Friends of Jesus. I had received numerous “Best in Religion” medals and went through the motions required by the traditions in the Catholic school where I studied.  But, that religion had never been personal to me; it didn’t create a heart’s desire to know Christ in an intimate way.

Sad to say, I didn’t know the Jesus of the Bible. I had never thought of Christ as a real person who came to the world as a baby on the first Christmas, and grew up and lived among needy people.  I had not understood His teachings and the meaning of His miracles. I had not grasped the incredible truth that He loved all of humankind –and yes, He loved me —   so much that He gave up His heavenly glory and embrace the suffering and death destined for Him on the Cross of Calvary.  I had never been confronted about my personal pride and self-centeredness. I had never seen myself as a sinner in need of a Saviour . . . until that one Christmas Eve!

On that night, I listened to words from the Bible that opened my eyes and led my heart to Jesus. I learned that it was possible to have a living, day-to-day relationship with Him. By God’s grace, my heart understood the awesome truth that He loves me and wants me to experience life in an extraordinary way on this side of heaven — and in eternity with Him forever. I began the exciting discovery of the real meaning of Christmas, sans the worldly trappings and travesties . . . that it’s all about Jesus, the Son of God who came to be with us – our Immanuel (John 1:14).

I began my personal relationship with Jesus my Saviour and Lord on that extraordinary eve of Christmas 1975. Jesus offered me His unconditional love and I accepted with gratitude and awe. He kindled in my heart a flame that has kept burning, fanned by His promises in the Bible and encouragement from a faithful community of believers. He ushered me into a new life of adventure in faith, grace, hope, love, joy, and great expectation! These words are no longer abstractions for me. They have become real in my daily walk with the One who gave me the gift of Himself on that beautiful Christmas.

This Christmas, like the Christmas of 1975 and the meaningful Christmases in subsequent years, I sing again my favourite Christmas carol and proclaim, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”  Joy to my heart, my Jesus reigns!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

 

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6 thoughts on “The Gift of Jesus

  1. Let me share my story Ate Yna. I was a freshman then at UST. As I was already in Manila, my father said I should meet the Baui family in Manila. My father taught me how to commute, and so I looked for the address my father gave me. My arrival was expected. Then my Lola Aba asked…”Do you have extra clothes for church? Sleep here tonight with us and tomorrow we will go to church”. Okay…so what’s new…church the following day. Fortunately and for some reason, the clothes I brought were my long sleeves white blouse just perfect for church and my new set of denim pants. A service vehicle arrived. I got curious, but I did not ask. Then the jeepney went to as many places as I could remember, picking up kids from here and there, some were dressed, some were not, some were clean, some really looked dirty and messy. The more I got curious, but still, I did not ask. And lo and behold…I read – NOVALICHES BAPTIST CHURCH. Okay. A Baptist Church. I was led to a group with people of my age. Sunday School. Okay. After church, my Lola Aba called an uncle of mine. Lola Aba said…”Fred. this is Julieta”. And my Tito Fred said he was happy to see me. We went back home after a WHOLE morning of service. Another Auntie gave me P100. She said Tito Fred gives out money every Sunday. So I told myself, I will go to that church every Sunday so my Tito Fred will give me money. But the next Sunday, there was no money. And there was no money also the following Sunday. But for some reason, I kept on going back. And I liked the Sunday School. I learned many things I never learned before even if I go to the catholic church at Batangas City. I never really experienced how it was to be a “catholic”. I go to mass on Sundays to “show up”. I always see to it that I would be seated near the piano because that was the spot where the rich and famous of Batangas City were seated every Sunday. I came to like the Sunday School Teacher. I came to like what’s happening to me on Sundays. I found out that God loves me more than I can ever imagine. So one evening, August 1981, I received my Lord Jesus Christ and made Him King of my life. And “all other things were added unto me”…The next morning, for the first time in my life, I praised God for a beautiful morning…and to think that I never really liked my mornings in my Dapitan boarding house where I had to share one comfort room with 7 female boarders and where water was calculated every morning, one pail each per bath (and we had to take a bath as early as 6 am otherwise there won’t be water anymore)…and it felt great praising God…and many other wonderful stories of how awesome God is followed…I won’t mention them anymore here…otherwise it would appear that this blog page is mine..:-)…fast forward … together with my husband and three children…we worship God together at Alabang New Life. I’ve had my share of Christian “lows”…but God’s grace is amazing. I am counting miracles, and ready for the overflow! God bless Ate Yna!

  2. “You can’t start and then stop,” as Paula Abdul used to say on AI. Now that you’ve started blogging, I will visit your site every other day and look for a new post! 😀 It’s going to be fun, Yna, I promise you.

    • Wow, Grace. That’s positive pressure, thanks a lot! Does it really need to be every other day? I was thinking twice a week only 😦 But, come to think of it, there’s so much beauty, and love around me, as well as pain and uncertainty that need to be written about, right? Maybe I could blog every other day. . . Surely I can!

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