Summary: We open up our Bibles once a year at this time to read the Gospel accounts of Jesus coming from the portals of heaven to lie in a bed of straw on this earth. Yet, to be honest isn’t it so much more than that? Isn’t there something more majestic about the
Everyone loves to receive gifts at Christmas time. And I am sure that as Christmas approaches we are wondering what lies behind those wrapped presents. I remember as a child that these 4 weeks of advent were so difficult. I would go by that tree about 30 million times a day looking at the box and trying to discover exactly what it was. I could not touch the presents that was against the rules. And so I would spend time imagining what was in that box and hope to goodness that it was exactly what I had asked for. It sort of reminds me of the story found in a recent Dennis the Menace cartoon. Dennis is shown rushing into the room with this big box and as his mom turns around her mouth drops open as Dennis says Mom we’d better tell Santa Claus to forget about the train that I asked for. I just found one exactly like I want on the top shelf of Dad’s closet.
Well as we celebrate Christmas, the perfect gift that has been given to us is not wrapped in shiny paper. We do not have to try to figure out what the gift is by shaking it upside down. For the perfect gift we have been given does not lie under a Christmas tree but was born under the stars of Bethlehem in a manger. Yes, I am aware that some people don’t see Christmas like I do. They miss out on the beauty of Christmas because they tend to commercialize Christmas instead of promoting it for what it truly is and that is God giving us the greatest gift in the world. And yes I will be honest and say even for the dedicated Christian it is tempting to miss the true meaning of what Christmas really is.
We open up our Bibles once a year at this time to read the Gospel accounts of Jesus coming from the portals of heaven to lie in a bed of straw on this earth. Yet, to be honest isn’t it so much more than that? Isn’t there something more majestic about the events of that night? We talked this past Wednesday about the beauty of the two planets and the moon that was displayed this past week. But even greater than that is the arrival of God to this earth in the form of the Savior Jesus Christ in an ordinary manger but through an extraordinary way.
And so as we go about fighting crowds, debt, and anxiety over the perfect gift for that special person, let’s spend some time being reminded that there is only one perfect gift and it has already been given to us. It is the gift of the presence of God. And because of that gift that God has been given, the question is now in our hands. What will be our gift to God? Well let’s look this morning at the gifts that God has given us and what our answer should be in return.
We find the beginning of this glorious event as recorded by Luke in The Gospel of Luke 26-38. And it is here where we must begin our journey to the ordinary stable of Bethlehem to witness the awe inspiring arrival of the Almighty God.
1) God’s Gifts Are Delivered Anywhere to Anyone who will receive them
I have a confession to make to you. Actually two. First, I detest shopping. I have no interest whatsoever in going to stores and waiting in long lines and dealing with large crowds to get gifts. And that leads to my second confession. When I do shop, it is usually in my pajamas. That’s right I am not ashamed to admit it, I will put on my favorite pajama pants (which are the ones I wear on Saturday nights before church the next day because they are my holy pants). Well anyway I will put them on and go shopping. And the great thing is I can shop at over a hundred stores and don’t have to pay a dime in gas. I have become a lover of shopping over the internet. Shopping in my pj’s allows me to order a gift for my lovely wife in California and have them ship it directly to Castalia. And I get out of having to answer people’s non stop questions of Where’s Castalia (Casteleea)> I never have to pay shipping and I never have to worry about someone getting the last thing that I want.
If I can buy Christmas gifts all over the world and have them delivered to the ordinary town of Castalia, then how much greater was it that God brought us His perfect gift into the world in the small ordinary town of Bethlehem and Nazareth. While Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he was raised in Nazareth. Nazareth was basically a town that was off the main highway and was relatively insignificant when compared in size and power to Jerusalem. If you remember Nathaniel summed up Nazareth best when he said in John 1:46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”