Summary: A Great Story
Christmas Eve Message
December 24, 2007
This Is About That
If we were to visit each other’s garages tonight I guarantee we would find some pretty unique stuff.
Some of you are thinking I don’t have a garage, so let’s not be so exact. If we were to visit your attic, shop, your basement, your shed, whatever that place is where some of that stuff from Christmas’ past ends up after a while - if we were to take a field trip to visit that place, I guarantee we would find some pretty unique stuff.
In one of those places at our house is a white T-shirt with a group picture on the front. The T-shirt is too small for me now. The picture faded. It’s all wrinkled. If you saw it you would wonder why is he keeping that? I’ve kept it because it was given to me by a group of students that I used to work with in Nebraska.
I haven’t thrown it away because it represents a significant period of my life. A group of students took the time to give me a gift I didn’t deserve nor earn. They freely gave it to me. Yes it is a T-shirt but it is more than a T-shirt. It is more than that.
In your garage and my garage.
In your shed and mine.
In our attics
Crawl spaces, shops
Our closets are pictures.
Children’s art projects
We’ve kept them.
Held onto them because they are invaluable.
They cannot be replaced.
If I was to ask you about that certain unique item in your storage place, you would probably start talking about who gave it to you.
Where you were when you received it.
When you received.
And if we could go deeper-you would most likely tell me about your relationship with the giver.
If we went still further, you might use words like, "It was a significant time in my life."
"He was a terrific person."
"I loved her."
So this thing-this item is a thing but it is more than that.
This physical thing-that you’ve kept stashed in your garage is actually about that relationship.
That moment in time.
This is actually about that.
This _____________ is all about that time.
This is about that. It may not appear that way initially but that is what it is about.
(This idea taken from Rob Bell, Sex God.)
A few minutes ago we read and heard the Christmas story. This story about a young couple, Mary and Joseph, having to go to Bethlehem to be counted in a census. This story about them being pregnant and because the town was so full, having to spend the night in a stable. This story about a baby being born to them. This baby who was named Jesus. This story about shepherds coming, Wisemen coming, angels signing.
This great story. This story we sing about, tell our kids about. This story of God becoming flesh and living among us for a while. It is a wonderful little story but it is actually so much more than that.
It is more than a reason to get together with family.
More than the excuse to bake and prepare our favorite meals.
More than an opportunity to give and receive gifts.
This story, this historical, factual event is meant to be and do so much more than that. It is a story we keep telling because after the presents are broken or put away.
The food eaten and the pounds put on around our bellies.
After the thank you notes written.
You and I are left with our lives and in the routine of the normal we yearn for hope.
And in such times we need to remember and remind ourselves that this Jesus is all about that. Through the grace of God salvation/life/hope/restoration has been revealed.
Has come near to you and me
Will you receive him?
A man in the Bible named Titus writes:
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people." (2:11)
This baby being born is all about that.
Restoration to all people.
This is all about that>
Christmas is all about that.
God’s gracious gift given to all people.
Salvation appearing among us.
Whether you realize it or not, that is what each of us need. This is why Jesus came.
That baby grew up to be all about restoring people to life.
That baby grew up to One who healed.
Restored the broken.
That baby born in that stable grew up to be the One in whom and through whom salvation is found.
This is what Christmas is about. Humanity’s reception of this gift.