Advent: December 6

Read: John 3:16

Thoughts for Parents:

Do you know what white noise is? White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have white noise.

The adjective "white" is used to describe this type of noise because of the way white light works. White light is light that is made up of all of the different colors (frequencies) of light combined together (a prism or a rainbow separates white light back into its component colors). In the same way, white noise is a combination of all of the different frequencies of sound. You can think of white noise as 20,000 tones all playing at the same time.

Because white noise contains all frequencies, it is frequently used to mask other sounds. If you are in a hotel and voices from the room next-door are leaking into your room, you might turn on a fan to drown out the voices. The fan produces a good approximation of white noise. Why does that work? Why does white noise drown out voices?

Here is one way to think about it. Let's say two people are talking at the same time. Your brain can normally "pick out" one of the two voices and actually listen to it and understand it. If three people are talking simultaneously, your brain can probably still pick out one voice. However, if 1,000 people are talking simultaneously, there is no way that your brain can pick out one voice. It turns out that 1,000 people talking together sounds a lot like white noise. So when you turn on a fan to create white noise, you are essentially creating a source of 1,000 voices. The voice next-door makes it 1,001 voices, and your brain can't pick it out any more.

Which brings us to John 3:16. When you saw that our reading for today was this familiar verse, did you decide to skip over it? Did you assume you knew it? Probably. Can you quote it? Possibly. Has it become white noise to you so that the only time it even crosses your consciousness is when some guy with a rainbow wig holds up a sign at an NFL game? But these words should never become overly familiar to us. In these words Jesus himself lays out His entire purpose. He reveals God’s plan to grant eternal life to those who deserve death for their disobedience. Death for disobedience is what Adam and Eve and all of us have earned. But God’s plan is to overcome the promised curse of death for disobedience by granting us eternal life. How can that be done? Will God renege on His promise? Was he just kidding? No, of course not. Out of love he would send His Son, His only Son, into the world, so that we might not perish under this curse of death, but rather so that we would have eternal life with Him.

Eternal life is not a blessing if it means we’re separated from God. That’s why the eternal life we’re given is life in Him, in His Son. This life is a great delight because it means we will be able to rejoice in His love forever. We’ve been given the promise of blessing for Christ’s obedience. This promise is for all who believe; they are not for all who remember to do everything properly … for none of us do. It’s a love-promise, an “I do” from God to us so that we can live with Him forever. Are those truths worthy of being relegated to white noise? Hardly.

Thoughts for Children:

Do you know that one of the most famous verses in the Bible is our verse today? It seems like almost everybody knows John 3:16. What most people don’t understand is how crazy cool this verse is. We think “oh yes, God loves us” and “oh yes, He sent His son,” and we think it is not that important. But, you see, these words in this verse are the very important. God does love us, and not because we are so sweet, lovely, and do everything right, but just because He decided to love us. And God did send His son, His only son, Jesus, to the earth so that we could be a part of His family. All we have to do is believe. You don’t even have to believe perfectly, you don’t even have to believe all the time; all you have to do is believe that God loves you and that He gave Jesus to you so that we could be saved. The most beautiful part about God’s love is that we can’t earn it; all we can do is receive it and say, “thank you.” When we receive His gift and say, “thank you,” we will be forever His children. We will live always with Him and with the rest of His family in the happiest place ever created. We will be with Him in Heaven.

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