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Summary: The gift of Christ at Christmas is powerful, personal, and life-changing.

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For centuries now gifts and giving have become synonymous with Christmas. Kids in particular become enthralled in the process of receiving gifts. And kid’s tear open gifts without any hesitation. “You never hear kids say, O no, you shouldn’t have.

And yet the great gift of Christmas seems to catch everyone off guard.

Imagine Mary…it all caught her off guard in the best way…TRANSCENDED ANY EXPECTATIONS…

Most gifts are wonderful and welcomed, but once in a while someone is able to look… “Not what I expected, but just what I wanted.” That’s what we find in the great gift of Christmas. I don’t know what you might be getting for Christmas but nothing will compare to what God has given.

Isaiah 9:2,6-7

The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned.

[6] For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

[7] Of the increase of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

will accomplish this.

First thing,

1. God’s gift is MORE PERSONAL THAN EVER IMAGINED.

We all want personal gifts…ones that show they really involved the giver.

> “Unto us a child is born…a son is given.”

Here is one of many birth announcements from God. Many had known this one…yet missed it. In fact, in the coming of Christ God sent 100’s of prophecies…detailed announcements. How could it be missed? In part because they saw them as mountain peaks. In the distant peak they could see the coming of a Reigning/Restoring King but in the foreground is the coming of a Suffering Servant.

The suffering servant was that which has proved hardest to apprehend. NO ONE EXPECTED GOD TO BE SO VULNERABLE, yet that is just what God has done…(Hebrews 1:1-3) It’s a mystery that never ceases to still our souls…in both surprise…and satisfaction. When lofty and lowly met when the eternal entered the earthly; when heaven entered humanity, and destroyed the powers that divide us forever.

God coming to humanity…coming as a child. God placed his life in Mary’s hands…and so with us.

John 3:16

…but theirs more, for in the culture of the time the firstborn represents the entire inheritance.

Illus - True story of man who lost a son he had cherished. Upon his own death his things were sold. A painting of his son which was plain and showed no particular beauty was given no attention. Only one man offered to buy it… the poor caretaker who had helped love that son… and wanted it out of personal affection. When the auction was over and the will was read, it was announced that the man’s entire inheritance would be given to whoever bought the painting of the son.

> SO ALL THAT GOD HAS IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU!

Hebrews 1:2

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

…not only the most personal gift…but

2. GREAT GIFT OF CHRISTMAS IS MORE POWERFUL than ever imagined.

We all long at this time of year to know that the world could have a brighter future…

So we discvover that God had sent a figure to change human history…“David’s throne” and “the government will rest on his shoulders.” “Prince of Peace.”

Many were expecting a great King from God…but few understood the real power struggle at hand was not simply political but spiritual. THE GREAT NEED OF HUMANITY IS NOT SOLVED BY WHO’S RULING OVER PEOPLE, BUT WHAT’S RULING WITHIN PEOPLE. GOD CAME TO DEFEAT FAR MORE THAN A PARTICULAR GOVERNMENT, BUT THE POWER OF EVIL ITSELF.

And indeed wherever this child, who was born to restore the reign of God in human hearts, has truly been made King; LIVES have been transformed, …FAMILIES have been restored, …NATIONS have changed forever. This one child has dealt more blows to evil than we can imagine. In him is the power for the peace we long for.

Illus-CHILDREN RESTORE TORN UP PICTURE OF WORLD USING IMAGE OF

ONE PERSON ON THE BACK

Mom was out of the house and the father was assigned the impossible task of watching his two children while studying for his college classes. Desperate to somehow find an hour of peace to study, the father devised a plan. He took a page from the National Geographic magazine where there was a full page map printed. He tore the map into pieces and told the children he had a game for them. Taking them into another room, he told them to put the pieces of the map-puzzle together. Satisfied that this project would take at least an hour, he began his studies. Ten minutes later, both children came out with the map perfectly restored. Flabbergasted, the father asked his children how they had done this. To this his daughter replied, "Well, you see Dad, there was this picture of a woman on the other side of the map and we just put her face back together." Isn’t that the same for so many of us who struggle to put the map of life together? If we would only look at the other side of the map and see the picture of Jesus in our life, and put that picture together, then the map of life would come together so much more easily. As the Scriptures say, "In all our ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight." -- Proverbs 3:6+

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