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Summary: How God reached out to mankind through his Son Jesus.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for collecting art. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of their family estate. The widowed father looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. But the day came when war engulfed the land, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to a medic.

On Christmas morning a knock came at the door of the old man’s home, and as he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for just a few moments? I have something to show you.” “I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “and I wanted to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his lost son. Though the art critics would never consider the work a masterpiece, the painting did feature the young man’s face in striking detail, and seemed to somehow to capture his personality on canvass.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation because according to his will all of the art works would be auctioned upon his death. The day soon arrived, and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular and rare paintings. The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Minutes passed with not a sound from those who came to buy. From the back of the room someone callously called out, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and go on to the important paintings.” There were other voices which echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it. I will bid the $100.” “I have a bid for $100,” called the auctioneer. “Will anyone go higher?” After a long silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once. Going twice. Sold.” The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone was heard to say, “Now we can get on with it!” But the auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was closed. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old man’s son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! We demand that you explain what’s going on!” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son... gets it all.”

Lord, God and Heavenly Father open our eyes this morning and soften our hearts to hear the message of your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to set aside other thoughts now and let us simply focus on the significance of the birth of your only Son. May we be pleasing in your sight this morning, and found faithful this day, may we bless you as you have blessed us, in Christ’s name we pray, AMEN

Christmas is a time of year that conjures up all kinds of notions in our heads.

-When I think of Christmas memories I think of a little children’s book. It’s been our family’s tradition for over 20 years that someone always reads the Christmas story from this book before we touch any presents.

-I also think of my uncle Fred whose has gone home to be with Jesus now, but when I was a kid he would always make two big trays of cinnamon rolls. One with walnuts, one without.

-I also think of my childhood home with the tree placed in front of the big window that beheld Mt. Hood in the background. The presents all packed around the tree, and because I’m the oldest cousin, I can picture all of the little cousins racing around, shaking packages and trying to read the labels to figure out which ones belonged to them.

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