Sermons

Summary: Have you opened God's gift or just intrigued with the wrapping?

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Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kidshanu b'mitz-vo-tav

v'tzi-va-nu l'hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who hallows us with

mitzvot and commands us to kindle the Chanukah lights.

Maoz Tzur

Ma'oz tzur yeshu'ati

Lecha na'eh leshabe'ach

Tikon bet tefilati

Vesham todah nezabe'ach

Le'et tachin matbe'ach

Mitzar ham'nabe'ach

Az egmor beshir mizmor

Chanukat hamizbe'ach.

O mighty Rock of my salvation,

To praise You is a delight.

Restore my House of Prayer and there

we shall bring a thanksgiving offering.

When you will have prepared the

slaughter for the blaspheming foe,

Then I shall complete with a song of hymn

the dedication of the Altar

Jas_1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Rom_6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eph_2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

When giving gifts to little children we are sometimes surprised to find that they are often more interested in the wrapping and the box than the gift itself. We might be able to save some money and just wrap a box until they get old enough to appreciate the actual gift. ;-)

I have found at that this season it is more evident than most days that people tend to be more wrapped up in the wrapping more than they are the gift. There is a lot of flurry and blurry shopping and wrapping gifts more than there is time spent with the One whose birthday we claim to celebrate.

In fact, He was not born on December 25th. It was a date assigned by men to achieve a goal. Indeed, we were never commanded to remember or celebrate His birth. After all, the Nativity was just God wrapping His gift until one day it would be on a tree instead of being under one. Yes, we have the history of it because it fulfills prophecy and gives us the gift card saying to the World from God, but it is only the initial wrapping of the gift.

For thirty-three years, God continued to put bows and ribbons on the gift. We see a few of them. One was at the age of twelve when Jesus taught the Doctors. Then we are not allowed to see any more of the bows and ribbons until the last three years of His life where we see bows of healing, raising folks from the dead and casting out devils. Yet, we are still just looking at a wrapped gift that many failed to even realize that He was a gift.

At the appointed time, God finished wrapping and decorating the gift and placed in on a tree. Unlike our gifts which are neat and pretty God tore His gift and pierced it making it look like the gift was destroyed and of no value. It was just a second phase of wrapping His gift. He then wrapped it again in a tomb and for three days it appeared to be a broken gift tossed into the trash.

Ah, but the gift was only being prepared for the appropriate time of presenting the gift to World. Indeed, God wrapped His gift and He unwrapped it because He rolled away the stone lid of the box called a tomb. When He arose is when the World needed to be excited for now they saw the true gift. It was a resurrected Son of God that conquered death and gave the gift of the new birth that brought forgiveness of sins, newness of life, fellowship with God and a home with Him eternally where they will live in a world of pure love with a new name known only to God and the Saint.

This is why we are called to observe the Lord's Supper and remember His death, rising and return. An unopened gift may be pretty and intriguing, but not much use to the recipient. It is only when the wrapping is destroyed and the box tossed aside that you see the gift and benefit by it.

Many people celebrating this holiday will be excited by the wrappings and trappings of the Malls and even religion. Yet, few will actually open God's gift by faith and receive the benefit. What a shame to spend a lifetime admiring the gift of God, singing about it and even giving gifts in the name of that gift only to die and find that because you never opened the gift you will spend eternity far from the love of God in Hell. (Matt 7:21-25)

Are you like those small children who find the wrapping and box more interesting than the gift? Are you excited about the stuff that goes on at this time yet give but lip service to Christ? Will you accept the opened gift of God by opening your heart to receive it? Have you received it, but somehow it just doesn't seem to have the save shine or allure as it once had in the day you opened it? All of us need to give Him our hearts as a gift of gratitude for the gift He gave us. After all, it is supposed to be His party we are attending. He should be the One getting the gifts. Shalom! Maranatha!

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