As we prepare to celebrate the Christmas season, the atmosphere seems to carry a hint of hopefulness for humanity. Like the feeling of closeness when snow is falling, the peacefulness one senses is almost tangible. Shopping, we focus our thoughts on others in anticipation of purchasing the perfect gift. We sing along to all of the well-known seasonal songs and carols, smiling at the slightly off-key harmony. The lights in the shop windows and houses glow almost as if sending a welcoming message of warmth and hospitality. Everywhere we look, we see angels, shepherds, Magi, and of course, Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus, who are all part of the Christmas story.

The Bible tells us very little about the life of Jesus between the time of his birth and earthly ministry, which began in his thirties. We know of one instance during his early life when, at the age of twelve, Jesus was inadvertently left behind after the Passover celebration. In search of him, three days later, his parents found Jesus in the temple listening to and asking questions of the teachers (Luke 2:41-52, NIV). Perhaps it is the absence of information about Jesus in this time period that threatens to desensitize us to the fact that he was entirely human as well as divine. Think about it for just a moment. Jesus was a two-year-old, five-year-old, nine-year-old, and so on, and yet, he remained committed to his mission as the Savior of the world.

When you think of the Baby Jesus this Christmas, remember the cross and why Jesus died; he died so that you and I might live eternally with Him and with the Father. The love of Jesus cannot be measured on this side of heaven; his gift has your name and my name written in red by his blood. Thank you, Jesus!