Isaiah 9:6 “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.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
On a bitterly cold Christmas Eve in 1930, the city of Chicago felt the sting of winter's chill. The wind howled and the temperatures plummeted. In this frosty setting, a young newspaper boy, ill-equipped against the elements, shivered on a street corner, his coat barely providing any warmth. Hunger gnawed at him as he stood outside a restaurant, gazing longingly through the window.
A compassionate policeman noticed the boy's plight, and concerned for his well-being, advised him to go home. However, the boy, with nowhere to call home, shared his predicament. The officer pointed to a house and said, "Go to that house, knock, and say 'John 3:16.’ They will let you in." Following the officer's instructions, the boy hurried to the front door of the house.
An elderly lady answered his knock and welcomed him in when he uttered the code, "John 3:16." The warmth and cheer inside contrasted sharply with the frigid night. Seated on a cushioned rocker, the boy contemplated, "John 3:16—I don't understand its meaning, but it has certainly thawed out a cold boy like me."
As the lady asked why he was there on such a harsh night, the boy, looking down at his worn-out shoes, revealed, "My parents were killed. I am an orphan." She offered him food, and he again thought, "John 3:16—whatever it means, this meal tastes and feels like nothing I've ever had."
Growing drowsy, the boy was led to a bathroom with a large tub filled with warm water and bubbles. Expressing gratitude, he remarked, "I don't think I ever had a real bath like this before. 'John 3:16' makes a dirty boy like me clean." The lady provided clean pajamas and guided him to a bedroom with a featherbed, tucking him in. As she kissed him goodnight, he mumbled, "I don't remember anyone kissing me except my mother," and drifted off, a tear rolling down his cheek. In his thoughts, he pondered, "John 3:16—I don't know why, but it sure makes you feel loved."
Awakening on Christmas morning in the John 3:16 house, the boy anticipated finding his old clothes. To his surprise, a brand new set awaited him. Reflecting on this, he marveled, "John 3:16—doesn't make sense, takes a raggedy old kid like me and dresses him up like a king."
Descending the stairs, he discovered a lavish breakfast prepared just for him. Doubts crept in, whispering that he wasn't good enough, an orphan undeserving of such kindness. However, the lady opened the door, revealing presents under the Christmas tree. Overwhelmed, the boy unwrapped toys and clothes, contemplating, "John 3:16—must be wonderful because it's taken a poor, hungry orphan like me and given me all these things."
With tears in her eyes, the lady offered him more than gifts; she asked if he wanted to move in and live with her. Overjoyed, he exclaimed, "John 3:16 answered my prayers, but I still don't know what it means."
Seated together, she read the verse, explaining that it was not just a door code, but the key to heaven. She shared the profound truth that God sent his Son to die for sinners and orphans out of love. The boy realized that he could accept this free gift of salvation. "John 3:16" changed his life and continues to change ours.
Do you know how much God loves you? Have you accepted his free gift of salvation? If you haven’t, you can do it today. Ask him to forgive your sins and place your faith in him.
God, thank you for the gift of Jesus. Your love, displayed through Jesus, is beyond my understanding, and it brings comfort, peace, and purpose to my heart. May the significance of Christ's birth not be lost in the hustle and bustle of my life. As I celebrate his coming, help me to reflect deeply on the power of your love for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.