Summary: This is the third sermon in the series, and the sermon focuses on the gifts that are given by Father Christmas in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The sermon explores spiritual gifts.
The Coming of Father Christmas
[Sleigh bells should be ringing in the distance as the pastor steps to the pulpit.]
What is that noise? Perhaps sleigh bells? You step out in order to investigate. You are amazed when you look up and see a large man, wearing the reddest coat you have ever seen in your life. He also has a beard that is whiter than snow. He has a claming peaceful face. You recognize him not as a mall Santa Claus, but this is Father Christmas. He calls you to come closer, and then he begins to pull gifts from his bag. He brings out a brilliant sword and shield, a bow and quiver full of arrows, an ivory horn, a small bottle that looks to be made of diamonds, and inside the bottle is some sort of cordial, He then reaches deep within his bag, and pulls out a large platter, that has 5 cups and saucers on it, and a bowl of sugar, a cream, and a large tea pot that is so hot you can see the steam rising from the spout. He gives you the presents, reminds you that Aslan is on the move, gives a admonition that these gifts are tools not toys, and then we all sit down to have a cup of hot tea. Welcome back to the world of Narnia.
I want you to reach back into the recesses of your mind, and think about your favorite Christmas gift from childhood. Mine was given to me when I was in the 4th grade. As always I crept into the living room at 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning because I wanted to see all the presents that Santa had brought during the night. I can remember sitting on the floor and just waiting from mom and dad to get up so that I could start opening presents. About 5:30, I had made enough noise that they came into the living room, and we began opening the presents. There was one present that was rather small and got pushed to the back of the boxes. The tiny box was very light and it had both mine and my sister’s name on it. Finally, we opened it and there was only a small picture of a trampoline in the box. Mom and dad quickly pointed us to the door where we looked out and saw a trampoline. I will always remember jumping on that trampoline at 5:30 in the morning in the cold.
Now that was my favorite gift growing up, but the gift that is of supreme importance is that of the person of Jesus Christ. The most wondrous gift that any of us can experience is the treasure of Jesus. In Christmas, we remember this amazing gift that was given to all of humanity. The baby that was born and laid in a manger, the angels sang his praises, the shepherds bowed in worship before him, the magi who brought extravagant gifts, and how they all experienced the wondrous gift.
Now not all people accept the gift, and thus many people turn away the most wondrous gift. But for those who choose to accept the gift, they truly find that he is the gift that keeps on giving.
The coming of Father Christmas in Narnia marked a turn in the story. It marked that the spell of the White witch was being broken and that Aslan had returned. As a result of the return of Aslan, the children were given the gifts. They were given gifts that were very special and were given for specific reasons. The gifts were all marked with the seal of Aslan, and thus the reason for the gifts was in order that the children could use them for Aslan.
As Christians we are all given gifts just like those given by Father Christmas, gifts that are tools and not toys. In the book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul outlines and speaks of spiritual gifts, and so this Christmas, with the coming of Father Christmas, I want us to look at these amazing gifts.
II. The Cost
The first thing we must see is the cost of the gifts. We must see that these are free gifts. When Father Christmas opens his bag to give presents, he did not ask for payment, he did not present a bill, but he opened the bag and gave gifts. These are gifts in the truest sense of the word. The Greek word for gifts is very close to the Greek word for grace. The spiritual gifts that Paul is speaking about are tokens of the grace of God.
We usually have a problem with gifts, we have bought into the misconception that I must do something for my gift. You give me this, and I will protest, maybe even ask to pay for it, but by very nature a gift cannot be bought. God is always trying to give us good things, but so often we are too concerned with the cost of the gift that we turn away. As the church we need to reclaim a child like faith.