Summary: The most precious gift ever given is Jesus. And, It's a life changing experience.
A Christmas Gift
A little girl is sitting on her grandpa’s lap rattling off her long Christmas list. The grandfather recognized that this was “a teachable moment,” and so he said, “Honey, it’s more blessed to give than it is to receive.” To which the granddaughter replied, “I know that, Grandpa, but receiving is good enough for me.”
I’d like to suggest tonight that the all-time best gift that has ever been given is Jesus Christ. And, once you open this gift, you will never want to return it, and you will never be the same! The Apostle Paul, when gazing at the gift that was given to him, said in 2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Paul, who was never at a loss for words as one of the best communicators of all time, when pondering the present he had received, could only say, “I can’t describe Him. All I can do is fall on my knees and thank God for His inexpressible gift.”
Some of you have received this gift and like Paul, you can’t even put into words how much He means to you. Some of you have come close to opening the gift of Christ. Maybe you’ve accepted Him but have been trying to hide Him somewhere.
God came near to us in the person of His Son. The baby in Mary’s womb is Immanuel, God incarnate, born to be with us. He revealed His plan to Mary and she responded with, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Joseph struggled to figure out his part in God’s drama, but eventually “…did what the Lord had commanded Him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24). Christmas always comes with a choice. Mary and Joseph chose to respond and receive the greatest gift of all time.
Let’s go back right now and see how this gift of grace was both given and received as I read Luke 2:1-20.
1. Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of ball 1the inhabited earth.
2. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
4. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5. in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a 1manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
10. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11. for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14. “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
15. When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
16. So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the 1manger.
17. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
19. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (NASB)
In commenting on the crux of Christmas, Max Lucado, wrote this: “That particular moment was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself up and placed her most precious one in a human womb. The omnipotent, in one instant, made Himself breakable. He, who had been a spirit, now was pierce-able. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And He who sustains the world with a word, chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl. God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created. God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of His mother. God had come near.” (Max Lucado, God Came Near)