Summary: What the true gift of Christmas really is
A Lamb God’s Perfect Gift to Man
John 1 29-42
The recent news story of the pregnant Missouri woman who was lured to her death and then robbed of her unborn baby is one of the most tragic stories to cross our news wires in a very long time. Even though we have been confronted with other horror stories such as the hunters murdered last month in northern Wisconsin and the recent murder of eighteen American soldiers in Iraq by a suicide bomber, this story seems unsurpassed in its gripping and horrible result. How could anyone do such a thing? To brutally kill a woman about to give birth and then to violently rip a child from a mother’s womb seems a crime beyond conscience, even in a culture like ours so attuned to death and violence. Time and time again our minds come back to that terrible picture of a little, innocent child, violently taken, cold and in shock, from the warm security of a womb he was not ready to leave, the only home he had even known, without any chance of ever hearing that familiar heartbeat or feeling the gentle and loving touch of his mother again.
Perhaps the hardest thing about this story is the hardness of the crime and the total vulnerability of the mother and child, and the utter helplessness of both mother and child. These are the things that continue to haunt our thoughts and feelings. Yet, despite the gruesome scene painted upon our minds by such wanton and senseless violence, we do find some relief. The baby is not lost and he does find his way into the loving arms of his father. It is a gruesome story; but one with an ending that is just and happy. Although the memory of the killing and the kidnapping will never go away, over time the picture of a father holding his “Christmas” baby is one that will rest upon our hearts as well as our minds.
God’s hears those prayers and it is in just such situations of hopelessness and helplessness that his almighty power is born. It is there that God leaves his treasure. In Mary and in all of us, as Christ is born anew within.” (Sermon Illustrations, 1999.)
Hopelessness and helplessness! When you and I were born into this world we were, in a very real sense, just like that little baby robbed from its mother. Born into a world of sin and violence and already bearing the shock and cold of our parent’s sin, our birth was not clean or holy. It was not the kind of birth that God had intended for us from before time. Ours was to have been a warm and comfortable birth; one that resulted in a close and perfect relationship with our Heavenly Father. But, rather than laying in His bosom, we were stolen away by the Prince of this world, Satan. It was not a pleasant birth nor an intended one for any of us. The picture was that of hopelessness and helplessness. Would this story end on a happy note? “O God, don’t let that be all that there is.” Only by a just and loving God who gave His Son into birth and death for us, were we able to find reunion with the One who loved us from before we were born, our Heavenly Father. By His almighty power, our violent and unclean birth is removed forever and replaced with the pure and holy birth of Jesus Christ. Born again in Him through baptism, we become Him and nestle in the bosom of His mother, under the tender and watchful eyes of our doting God. Justice is served after all. The one who stole us has been punished and we, as rightful heirs of our Father’s love, have been returned to His loving embrace; an embrace from which we will never be parted again. What a blessed Christmas gift that is!
I. What is God’s perfect Gift?
a. It is a lamb that will bear our sins.
i. In ancient times lambs were used in sacrifice to God to atone for our sin.
1. Adam’s rebellion against God brought sin into this world.
2. Adam’s rebellion required the shedding of blood to pay the debt. Remember that God killed animals to make them clothes but those animals were sacrifices so Adam and eve could still have a relationship with God.
3. Sin brought not only corruption to the flesh but it also brought death.
a. Death of this fleshy body
b. Death of the soul by eternal separation from God.
ii. Man is separated from his creator. There is nothing that we can do for ourselves to be reconciled with God. In fact we often don’t even want to be reconciled with God.