Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Its All About The Presents

“For God loved the world in this way; He gave His Only
Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish
But have eternal life.” - John 3:16 HCSB

I love Christmas. My anticipation grows day by day as it approaches and I hate to see it go. I love the gift giving of Christmas and there is nothing like giving gifts to those whom you love. Many people say that Christmas is not about gifts, but today I disagree. I believe that Christmas is all about the gifts. For you see, Christmas is the celebration of the greatest gift of all. Jesus was more than a baby born; he was the gift of God given to all mankind. Christ was a gift given freely out of love. But, what is love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says"Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish, is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." So, what is a gift given out of love? It is a gift that requires nor expects anything in return.
I read a story recently about an elderly woman who was blind. Her young pastor stopped to visit her and could not help but notice the beautiful Christmas tree in her living room. Taken back by this display of visual beauty in the home of a woman with no sight, he could not help but ask. “Mrs. Johnson,” he said, “your tree is beautiful, do you decorate it every year?” “Oh yes,” she replied, “my nephew and I get the lights and decorations down and we have the best time decorating the tree.”
The young pastor, as confused as ever, asked in reply, “why would you spend so much time decorating a tree that you can not even look at and enjoy?” The wise lady responded, “Pastor, not everyone is blind.”
That is a gift given in love. A gift that she will never enjoy for herself, but that will bless the lives of others. Christ was a gift much the same. After all, how could God enjoy watching his Son suffer the pains of this earth? Imagine the Heavenly Father wincing with every skinned knee or bloody nose of his son. Certainly, as he grew, God could not enjoy the ridicule Jesus faced, and need we even mention the pain of the Father as the Son hung from a cross? No, God’s joy was not in watching His Son suffer, rather, his joy was found in seeing His creation redeemed.
All gifts of love require some form of sacrifice, only God’s sacrifice was much greater than any of us can imagine. I’ve brought this gift this morning to remind us that Christmas is about gifts, it is about the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. This gift is beautifully wrapped and the anticipation for what is inside is great because of the beautiful exterior. Christ deserved to come to earth surrounded by beautiful splendor; but instead, the greatest gift of all was laid in a feed trough and wrapped in plain cloth. An ordinary entrance for the world’s most extraordinary child…Jesus, the Messiah, the Light of the World, the Son of Mary, the Son of God!

No comments: