Here’s a three-minute lesson I taught to the kids (ages 5-11) at church last week.
This is a wrapped Christmas package. It takes some planning to put together a Christmas present like this. You have to think of what somebody wants or needs, then go get it, then find a box the right size, then wrap it up. If you want to do it right, you have to plan ahead.
Once, when I was a kid about the age some of you are, I got the idea to get my dad a present, but I didn’t get the idea until Christmas eve. So what I got him was some stuff I found in my toy drawer. I think it was about five pennies, some shoes from a G.I. Joe, and a random assortment of Legos. I put them in the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper and quickly wrapped them up. Dad opened the present and was happy that I had thought of him, but it was pretty obvious to both of us that I hadn’t thought of him very far in advance. I had planned the present so late that I just gave him whatever I already had around.
When God the Father sent his only Son Jesus Christ to save us, he gave us the ultimate gift. It was a gift of salvation that he had planned long, long before giving it. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” For God to give us his Son, he had to already have his Son with him before he gave him. And when God the Father and God the Son give us the Holy Spirit, they had to have the Holy Spirit with them before they gave him, too.
How far in advance did God have the Son and the Holy Spirit ready to give to us? The Kids’ Core Concept we’re learning this week says “God eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” That’s the answer: God the Father always had the Son and the Holy Spirit with him, because the one God has always, eternally, existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
That’s what we mean when we talk about the Trinity: that God eternally exists as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Galatians 4 says that “in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem us from the curse of the law… and he sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father.'” Christmas is the fullness of time, when God the Father sent forth the Son who eternally existed with him and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Trinity.
If you’re good at imagining things, try to imagine what existed before God had made anything at all. Before any of us, before heaven and earth, when all there was was God and nothing but God, what was it like to be God? That’s what our core concept is about: “God eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” And when God made everything else that exists, he continued to be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
To get ready for Christmas, God didn’t have to rush around heaven at the last minute trying to think of what we needed, or where he would get it, or how to present it. In the fullness of time, the Father sent the Son to save us by living and dying and rising for us, and the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to fill us. God was always read for Christmas, because God eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.