Summary: The greatest Christmas present of all time

Grimston 21-12-2011 and WSM 18-12-2011

Receiving a wonderful gift.

In the approach to Christmas and the frenetic frenzy of buying Christmas presents that accompanies it I am reminded of this story.

Story: The only son of a very wealthy man had his 21st birthday on Christmas Day.

His mother gave him some gold cufflinks and engraved gold pens.

His uncle and aunt bought him a set of TaylorMade R9 golf clubs that combined Flight Control Technology and Moveable Weight Technology, with which he was delighted as he was a keen golfer

And he expected to receive a sports car from his Dad, as he had dropped many heavy hints over the course of the previous year.

Instead his Dad told him that he loved him and handed him a wrapped-up present.

When he opened it, he found it to be a box containing a leather bound Bible, with his name inscribed on the spine.

Angrily the young man tossed the box and Bible aside and stormed out saying: with

“With all your money, all you can give me is a Bible!”

And they never spoke again, despite the fact that the young man’s father tried hard to

contact him.

Years later, he got a call from his Uncle to say his Dad had died, leaving him everything.

As he was going through his father’s belongings, he found that Bible still in its box.

Curious, he took the Bible out of the box and opened it.

The page fell open at a passage his father had marked.

And as he looked at the page, he noticed that his Dad had underlined Mt. 7:11,

“ If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father give what is good to those who ask Him. “

And as he read it, a car key fell from inside the Bible.

It had a tag with the dealer’s name on it – for the sports car that he had wanted years earlier.

On the tag beside the date of his 21st birthday he read the words: “Paid in full love, Dad.”

On that first Christmas Day, God gave the world the greatest Christmas present of all

The gift of His son Jesus Christ.

Jesus said about his own ministry

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

So many people think being a Christian is a boring life but that is far from the truth.

Jesus offers us abundant life.

Story: Maddy and I have opened a B and B in our Vicarage now the children have left home.

We had a visitor a few months ago from Australia.

He was keen to talk when he had heard that I had given a lucrative career up to become a vicar. And he asked me why and I explained.

He then told me he was an atheist and it turned out we had something in common. We both had a degree in Chemistry.

We had a long very amiable discussion about science and faith and at the end of our talk I said:

“If you are right and there is no God, I haven’t lost anything because I have had a great life being a Christian”

If I am right – you’re in big trouble.”

With that, he laughed and the conversation came to an end.

As we look forward to Christmas, let us reflect that God gave us a wonderful gift in a stable in Bethlehem about 2000 years ago

“A Saviour who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11)

Jesus, God’s Son came into the world to reconcile man to God.

He died on a Cross-to take the penalty of our sins – so that we could once again become “children of God” (Jn 1:12)

What is your reaction going to be to God’s wonderful gift to us this Christmas?

Are you going to turn away from it just as the young man turned away from his father’s gift – and lose out on the wonderful present.

Or are you going gratefully receive that wonderful gift.

The choice is yours.

Let me leave you with a verse from St. John’s Gospel.

“But to as many as received him, he gave them the right to become sons of God, to those who believe in his Name, he gave the right to become children of God- children not born of natural descent nor of human decision but born of God.” (Jn 1:12).

Will you receive God’s present to you this Christmas?

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