Imagine for a moment, you receive a Christmas gift and use it everyday for 14 years. What a gift! Even if someone gave you a new car, after that many years you’d have likely gotten rid of it or found yourself in want of a newer one. Clothes, cars, computers, or cash… I’ll assume most would be a faint memory at best after 14 years. What kind of gift stands the test of time better than the aforementioned items? Well, in my humble opinion I have one sitting right here next to me.
The year was 2005, and after a sad, slightly messy divorce, I was filled with bitterness, regret, anger, and every other emotion that accompanies trauma from divorce. I’d go to work everyday and vent my feelings. In the midst of all that, there was Shawn. He would quietly sit and listen; showing empathy and compassion every time I unloaded on him. After several weeks, Shawn asked if I felt like coming to church with his family that Sunday. I said yes, and thus began my personal journey of growing in relationship with Christ.
Christmas that year was spent with Shawn and his family. We had a wonderful dinner together and moved into the living room afterwards to exchange gifts. Reaching out to receive mine from one of the kids, I was surprised by its weight. On a side note, anyone who knows me, knows I love things that are heavy; silverware, stemware, and banana bread, the heavier the better. So when I held my gift, it’s small size and heft brought joy to my heart. What could it be?!
Unwrapping my present, I can’t even begin to explain how excited I got to receive a NIV Study Bible. Just 12 months prior and I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but something had changed. I grew up Roman Catholic and went to private Catholic school, so a Bible wasn’t anything new to me. After entering high school and up until this every moment in Shawn’s living room, I rarely touched a Bible. This time however, was different.
When does a Christmas gift become more than a mere Christmas gift? It’s a funny question for me because when I think of the Bible, at face value it’s just a book; white pages with black ink. At the same time, it’s more than book; it’s the Word of God held in my hands. Maybe part of that heft I feel is something otherworldly, something that can’t be measured in grams or ounces.
The Most Popular Book
Is it any coincidence this book is the most popular book in the world? Translated into more languages than any other. Many have tried to wipe it from the face of the Earth and just as many have failed. Many have risked their lives to see it brought into hostile territory, and countless numbers have earned the title of martyr doing so.
As we enter the Christmas season, would you consider asking God to put a particular person, or a particular family on your heart to receive not just a book, but God’s romance novel. His story of relentlessly pursuing His children; stopping at nothing to get them back.
Who would’ve ever guessed something so seemingly insignificant as a book could bring so much joy. So much joy in fact, I’ve held that book in my hands nearly every single day over these last 14 years. Bearing any unforeseen circumstances, I plan on enjoying the weight of it with 100 year-old hands.
P.S. I highly encourage you to watch this amazing film by our friends over at Gospel Patrons. This Book is Alive is such a powerful story of the quest to translate the Bible into every known language in the world. Enjoy!