With just two weeks until Christmas, I decided I’m about full up on Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. They’ve been playing non-stop since right before Halloween, so I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every Christmas movie ever made by now.
Taking a much-needed break from the snow, sleighs, Santas’ and singing, last week I was channel surfing during my lunch break and happened upon a movie about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. At 17-years-old, the grandson to the richest man in the world (at that time) was held for $17 million ransom. John Paul’s parents were divorced and neither of his parent’s had the means to pay the ransom. John Paul was tortured for several months before action was finally taken to secure his release.
J. Paul Getty, the rich grandfather, initially refused to pay anything for his grandson’s release. Getty Senior, although a billionaire oil magnate, was known to be extremely miserly with his money – even going so far as to put a pay phone in his home for guests and family use. Eventually, he “loaned” his son the money to pay the ransom, but not before negotiating the original ransom amount down to $3 million. True to his penny-pinching nature, he required his son to pay the money back at 4% interest.
This movie stirred so many emotions in me. I was dumbfounded and saddened to think a grandfather would put his love of money ahead of his family’s safety. J. Paul reluctantly agreed to pay the ransom, but only after his grandson’s ear was cut off and mailed to the family. The richest man in the world may have had billions of dollars in the bank, but he was morally bankrupt and had no concept of what real love is.
As Christmas approaches, I’m reminded of what true love is and the reason we celebrate the holiday.
Jesus Christ willingly chose to pay the ransom for me, for you … for all of His children to be set free from sin. Without hesitation, God sent His only son, born to a virgin for the purpose of becoming flesh and blood. God let His son experience everything that we as humans go through – pain, suffering, temptation – every human emotion. Knowing that his son, Jesus was eventually going to die a horrific death – God, Jesus – still made the sacrifice for our salvation.
Jesus paid the ransom for one and all, yet how many of us get caught up in the chaos of the Christmas season with shopping, decorating, the hustle and bustle, whining and complaining about the gifts we have to buy but don’t have money for … AND YET forget the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place?
Would you be willing to pay the ransom for a loved one? Would anyone pay the ransom for your release? Luckily for us, Jesus has already settled the account for us. He paid so we don’t have to.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. John 3:16 (GNT)
Blessings in Christ and Merry Christmas,