Summary: God offers each of us the greatest gift ever given, a personal relationship with Him.
Christmas can be a very hectic time for people as we focus on gifts and activities. Back home people are focused on various Christmas parties and social functions to go to, they have been decorating the house and Christmas tree, sending Christmas care packages to their loved one serving in a foreign land, sending Christmas cards and buying just the right Christmas present for everyone. Gifts and gift giving have always been a large part of Christmas. Take Ralphie for example, he was consumed by his desire to receive “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.” It was a very specific gift and it had to be the real thing, not just any BB-gun. When Ralphie received his “official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time” he proclaimed that this was the best present he has received or will ever receive.
James tells us in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” God always gives us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. Today, in Luke 2:8-20 we are going to look at the greatest gift any of us could ever be given by our Heavenly Father the Greatest Giver of Gifts that ever has been or ever will be.
Please stand with me as I read the Biblical Text.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Please be seated
Tonight we are going to look at God’s greatest gift to you and me; the gift of a personal relationship with Him.
You and I are created to be in relationship with God and other people. We need God and each other. In the beginning of creation Adam and Eve have total and complete access to God. It was a completely unhindered relationship between man and his creator until mankind decided to disobey God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil after being tempted by Satan. Since that initial act of disobedience our relationship with God has been hampered by the sin of our own pride and selfishness. How it must have broken our Lord’s heart to cast his children out of the Garden of Eden. Sometimes a parent has to do what is difficult for the good of his children. But notice Gen 3:21 says that “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Even after casting them out of the Garden of Eden he continued to meet their physical needs and pursued them in order to meet their spiritual need. God personally pursues us. He began implementing a plan to restore our relationship with him from the moment we broke that relationship and on Christmas morning we celebrate the fact of John 1:1,14 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”