Summary: Christmas Day: Through the gift of the Christ Child, God comes into our reality to restore our sinful humanity, to defeat our enemy and to give us hope for life eternal.
Do you have a favorite gift? I have one that I really, really love. It isn’t a particularly expensive gift. It isn’t a particularly beautiful gift. It isn’t even a particularly useful gift. But, it is a fun gift. I don’t take this gift out very often. In fact, I have this gift in a plastic bag and stored away in a closet. Why? - To keep it from getting worn out too quickly. I take it out once in a blue moon. Here it is [show dad’s gift here – a stuffed Chihuahua dog that sings “La Bamba”].
The reason that I like this gift is because it reminds me of my dad – you see, he gave it to me. I went to see dad one day, and I saw this little guy there. Dad showed me how to get it to sing. I remember that when I saw it’s head bobbing and heard it singing - it made me smile – and dad noticed. He gave it to me right then and there. I tried to tell dad to keep it, but he insisted that I have it. So I brought it home with me.
Now I’ve thought about why dad wanted me to take this little guy home. There’s only one reason that I can think of. You see, dad knew me pretty well. He could read me. And most of you that know me well know that I am not a mellow person. I am always preoccupied or busy with something or other. If I am engrossed with something troubling, you can see it on my face. I can’t hide it when I’m preoccupied with my work. And I’m almost always preoccupied with my work. Dad knew that about me. And I’m fairly well convinced that when he saw me smile at this little guy’s singing and dancing – when dad saw me forget my problems for just a little while because of this little guy – he wanted me to have it. That was dad’s way of bringing just a little bit of joy into my life. That’s why this little guy is one of my favorite gifts – it helps me to remember dad’s love for me.
The rebellious young man had misspent his fortune. He’d demanded his money, left home – and he’d blown it. He didn’t notice that his popularity seemed to depend on how much he opened his wallet. Now that he had no money, he had no friends. He was starved, even the pigs ate better than he did. He had hit rock bottom.
Through it all, his dad had refused to give up on him. He would eagerly wait for him to return. He’d just sit and watch the road in hope of seeing his son come back home. One day – there he was – his boy was returning! His love made the father loose all pretence at dignity. He grabbed his robe and ran out to meet him his boy. The son started, “I’m sorry…” But before the words came out he felt his father’s arms around him and his father shushed him and kissed him and put his ring on him. The Father had the servants prepare a lavish banquet to welcome his wayward son home.
If we could ask this dad, “Why did you do this for such a foolish young man? He selfishly squandered the money you worked so hard to earn – why would you welcome him back so lavishly?
“Why?” – would answer the father, “This is my son. I love him. My son was lost, and now he is found.”
Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. Once Christmas she went there to buy stamps. The lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, “But the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.” (Bits and Pieces, December, 1989, p. 2 - on www.sermonillustrations.com)
You’ve heard of the term, “Rhodes scholars?” A British statesman and financier named Cecil Rhodes endowed the world-famous Rhodes Scholarships. He was known as a stickler for correct dress - but not at the expense of someone else’s feelings. A young man invited to dine with Rhodes arrived by train. In order to avoid being late, he had to go directly to Rhodes’s home in his travel-stained clothes. Once there he was appalled to find the other guests already assembled. The guests were all wearing full evening dress. After what seemed a long time Rhodes appeared. He was wearing a shabby old blue suit. Later the young man learned that his host had been dressed in evening clothes. But when he heard of his young guest’s dilemma, he had gone to change into the old suit. (Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 10 – adapted from www.sermonillustrations.com)