Romans 6:23 – For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord. (AMP)

When I was a small girl I looked forward to going across our back yard and following the path over to my great uncle Lester's. It seemed that he did such interesting things, for he could fashion many things from wood. When he was working, he made lobster traps, but when it was hobby time, he made model boats and furniture. In my mind, I can still smell the wood shavings in his workshop. Sometimes he'd stop his work and make my brother a boat when we came to see him — just a simple boat, a pointed hull, a dowel in the middle, and a piece of burlap for a sail, but an excellent toy for a young boy.

But what I enjoyed most was his stories. I remember the day he told me of a boyhood Christmas. "I was so excited," he said. "I asked my mother and father if there would be a Christmas gift this year, and they told me that if I was good I could hang my stocking. Christmas Eve, I hung my longest sock by the fireplace, then went up the stairs to my bedroom. Before I said goodnight, my mother said, 'Lester, if you peek, Christmas won't come.' That night, after the lamps were turned out and I'd been tucked in bed, I tiptoed to the head of the stairs, and there before my wondering eyes was Santa filling my sock. I was so excited that I could hardly wait until morning."

Sad to say, my uncle learned a hard lesson that Christmas. He disobeyed his mother's orders, and when he woke up in the morning, the stocking was nowhere to be found. We may think that this was a harsh lesson for such a small child, but later, in his adult life, the lesson made it easier for my uncle to understand that there are consequences for breaking laws and to understand God's requirement for obedience.

God tells us in today's Scripture that the penalty for sin is death. However, many of us are ignoring the warning. This year, instead of disregarding God's warning, let us accept the best Christmas gift of all, God's Son, Jesus Christ, who took the penalty of our sin and died in our place on the cross at Calvary.

Prayer: Dear God, today many of us are going about our lives and paying no attention to Your words of warning. Help us to understand how important it is to obey Your Word. Amen.

About the author:

Elaine Ingalls Hogg <authorhogg@yahoo.ca>
Smiths Creek, New Brunswick, Canada

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