“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”Luke 15:10
If you were born on or near Christmas Day, I am sure your birthday and Christmas were and might still be a lot like mine. When your birthday is that close to Christmas, the natural thing for parents to do is “combine” presents for both occasions into one big super present. At least that is the idea.
When I started catching on to what my parents were up to, it bothered me for about a millisecond until a light bulb went off in my mind. Sure, I liked that I had more family members attend my birthday parties, and it was nice when loved ones made the extra effort to give me a birthday gift and a Christmas gift, but my eyes were set on the super, combined gift from mom and dad.
The year this really paid off was when I turned sixteen. A car had been all I could think about for months, and therefore, a car was all my parents heard about for months. The day had finally arrived. With my newly acquired temporary, paper driver’s license folded up in my wallet and my dad riding shotgun in his pickup truck, we drove back to the house. As a precursor, there was no hint that a car was on my horizon. Borrowing mom or dad’s vehicle would have been just fine with me.
However, when we turned the corner onto our street, I saw her. Yes. Her. Buford. She had four wheels, an engine, faded blue paint, a dent, and more than 100,000 miles. The best part, it was mine! I spent the rest of the day driving around town with the windows down in December picking up any friend who was home to celebrate the gift that changed my life.
Now that I am a father, I am sure my parents loved watching the surprise and joy I experienced as they handed over the keys (mixed with a little anxiety, I’m sure). As happy as we are when we are able to give good gifts to our children, that is no match for what God the Father must feel when He sees just one of His kids receive the gift of eternal life He has offered to them through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of His beloved Son Jesus Christ. The gift is free. It has already been completely paid for by the blood of Jesus. We have only to reach out, take the keys, and invite as many friends and family members as possible to join us in the most incredible gift we will ever receive.
Placing emphasis on making sure teenagers are spiritually equipped for college, Ryan fosters an environment where teenagers want to bring their friends and feel safe sharing their doubts and questions. Ryan is married to his junior-high sweetheart, Julia, and they love and adore their three triplet children.