“For God so loved the world that God gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
My favorite part of this familiar verse is the gift: eternal life. I don’t spend much time thinking about the giving part. God’s great generosity required a sacrifice. A son was given.
During Lent 2008, I received a gift. On February 12, my husband and I drove into the parking deck of the BB&T building in downtown Raleigh. We rode the elevator to the 23rd floor and emerged two hours later with a baby. We paid the lawyers for their time, but the baby was a gift, given to us by a woman whose name I will never have the privilege of knowing. The day of our greatest joy was likely the day of her greatest pain. We received a gift, given in a complicated act of love, with a cost that I do not easily comprehend.
Every year on February 2, we have a day to celebrate our son. We shower him with gifts and eat cake and jump on trampolines with friends. It is always a great day and, as on most days, my cup runs over for the unique gift of this brilliant and funny child. On February 12, however, my thanksgiving is for a different act of generosity. This day, I give thanks for the woman who gave us her son, and the death that she endured so that we might have this life.
In his book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that grace is free but it’s not cheap. I pray that I might never forget that the greatest gifts of my life have always been free to me, but never without cost.