Summary: God has given us the best Christmas present and it is wrapped in the tender human body of our Lord Jesus Christ who was born in a lowly manger.


Christmas is an exciting time and little Sammy was excited. He was 15 years old and Christmas was still to him a time of wonder. He was a happy child despite his handicap. You see, Sammy was slightly retarded. He still went to school, though he was 2 years behind. And he did the things like most boys do. Sometimes other kids laughed and called him "stupid Sammy" -- but Sammy just didn’t seem to hear them -- he just enjoyed life every part of it. It was Christmas Eve, 8 P.M., time to go to church for the annual Christmas Eve Celebration. He was so excited wondering what gift would be under the tree for him this year. Every year on Christmas Eve after the service, all the children would gather around the huge Christmas tree and each one was handed a present, with their name on it. Sammy’s parents left early that night, because his mother was singing a solo, "Silent Night" and she wanted to practice. They were the first to arrive at church. And when his dad opened the door; well you can guess where Sammy went; that’s right; at the speed of light he went right to the Christmas tree and started to look for the present with his name on it. After a few minutes, he began to worry because he couldn’t find it. Then his eyes caught hold of a big box -- the biggest present that was there. He slowly walked over to it -- lifted the card and there in great big letters was his name "Sammy." He couldn’t believe it, the biggest present was his, and his mind began thinking at the speed of light of all the many possibilities of what was inside. What was in it -- Sammy could barely stand it -- but he knew he had to wait.

Finally it was over and all the children rushed to the huge tree. Pastor Joe stared picking up presents and calling out names; Sarah, Bobby, Susan; Sammy was on the edge of his seat. Pastor Joe walked over to the big box and said, "Well, let’s see whose name is on this one," but before he could read the name Sammy bolted beside him and said "It’s mine Pastor Joe" "so it is," Joe replied. Sammy took the box and gently took off the bow; His heart was pounding like a drum. His mom and dad stood beside him smiling. Sammy removed all the paper and laid it beside the box -- And then he began to remove the lid -- In his mind all of the things he hoped to see flashed before his eyes in a second. Finally Sammy got the box open and he looked inside and he saw – Nothing! He saw nothing! Someone had played a trick on Sammy. When Sammy lifted his head, tears were streaming down his face. Who would play such a mean trick on Sammy? The box was empty.

Everyday, all around the world, this same trick is being played. Though the names and exact situation are a little different - the results are still the same. Our world promises people great things; happiness, wealth, pleasure, relationships, fame, success, power. And it wraps them up in a great big box, with pretty paper. And it hands us this box as a gift; we get excited; and we take off the bow; we unwrap the box and we open it with great expectations. And when we look inside, just like Sammy, all we find is an empty box. No hope, no life, no joy, no happiness; just tears of heart break streaming down our cheeks. That’s the kind of gifts this world gives us... Have you ever opened one of her boxes? I think you have and it’s not fun, is it? (

The name "Immanuel" is derived from the Hebrew words, "IM", meaning "with"; "ANACHNU" or in short "ANU", meaning "us"; and "EL", meaning "GOD", which literally means, "With us is God". It is a very meaningful name given to the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah wrote it. The evangelist Matthew rewrote it with direct reference to the writings of Isaiah. That was a gap of around 600-700 years. Biblical history tells us that there had been around 400 years of prophetic silence before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. But regardless of the time difference, both writers penned that description with precision and accuracy. In the gospel of Matthew, the Greek word, "META" (to translate "with") is used to describe the presence of God – "God with us". "Meta" does not only entail proximity but includes participation and association. It proves that our God is an immanent God – He is personally and practically involved in His entire creation. His presence is embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Only-begotten Son, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Day. One author said, "The best way to present an idea is to wrap it in a person". It is an awesome present, indeed!

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