Summary: No Christmas stocking was large enough to hold all that he wanted to give us. No Christmas stocking could display the Christmas message he wanted us to see. Only his hand drawn paper bags could properly express his love for us.
Plain Brown Paper Bags for Christmas 2007
Today we celebrate a birthday that is 2007 years old. How is it that people are still excited and motivated to celebrate a 2007 year old birthday? It seems every year people grow more excited about that first birthday 2007 years ago.
Well this is no ordinary birthday. This is Jesus birthday and His name says it all. This is the birthday of the promised Messiah, The King of Israel, and the Son of David. It is the birthday of the Saviour of Mankind. It is a day that was long awaited for and prayed for and promised and finally fulfilled.
In my lifetime Ive been around for just 50 of these special birthday celebrations. But each one grows more thrilling and exciting than the last. There is wonder and awe and mystery and thanksgiving and joy and hope all wrapped up in this birth of the Christ child. These elements remain and continue and are new every year as more and more people are drawn to the Nativity.
What is it about Jesus birth that causes us to celebrate so? The reasons are obvious for many and obscure for others.
Many of us know John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:17 completes the action. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.
Christmas is about a Father expressing His love to His children. Our Heavenly Father has done just that by giving Jesus to us.
Christmas has become a time to reminisce and think back on all our precious loved ones and how we shared Christmas together. Our church Sharing Tree is a great example of this. So many have touched our hearts with their lives and have imparted deep and meaningful memories that we carry into this celebration time. It is fitting that we remember them as we honor their lives for all they have meant to us.
This is my first Christmas without my Dad, others here at New St. Andrews share in a similar loss of a loved one over this past year. Yet, the passing of our loved ones must not diminish our Joy as we celebrate Christmas for we know our loved ones are having Christmas with Jesus in heaven this year. Now that must be some birthday party!
I can not begin to imagine the thrill it must be to be in the presence of the guest of honor King Jesus! While we wait for our heavenly invitation to that party we continue to celebrate here on earth. You see Jesus is no less present here on earth than He is in Heaven. Because He is God He is with us even now! That connection keeps us connected to our loved ones who have gone on ahead of us. We are together this Christmas in and through and by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christmas is about a Father expressing His love to His children.
In my family my Dad started a tradition at Christmas, Im sure many of you have your own special traditions, they are part of what makes Christmas such a special time. A long, long time ago when I was just a tyke my Dad was busy collecting five plain brown paper grocery bags for Christmas day. These were the large paper bags that stores used to use before we discovered plastic. We had five children in our family and Dad collected five new bags.
He would then take all the Christmas cards that we had received and would pile them on the kitchen table. Then using our pencil crayons and markers he would begin to draw and color five unique Christmas scenes one on each bag and then he would write the name of the child at the top of the bag in colors and a design that matched the Christmas scene he had made.
This all took place after we were ushered off to bed as we waited for Santa to make his annual stop at our home. Late into the night my Dad would toil over each bag. For some reason he always waited until Christmas Eve to make these bags. We could hear the Christmas music playing into the night as we drifted off to sleep. Occasionally we would hear Dad singing along.
Each bag became a unique work of art with each childs name written across the top. He would then fill each bag with fruit and candy and nuts and toys. So great was his love for his children that no regular Christmas stocking would do. No Christmas stocking was large enough to hold all that he wanted to give us. No Christmas stocking could display the Christmas message he wanted us to see. Only his hand drawn paper bags could properly express his love for us.