Summary: Are we going to get so caught up with the frentic frenzy of secular Christmas that we miss the real McCoy?

Grimston 21-12-2011

The First Christmas present.

In the approach to Christmas and the frenetic frenzy of buying Christmas presents that accompanies it I am reminded of this story.

Story: The only son of a very wealthy man had his 21st birthday on Christmas Day.

His mother gave him some gold cufflinks and engraved gold pens.

His uncle and aunt bought him a set of TaylorMade R9 golf clubs that combined Flight Control Technology and Moveable Weight Technology, with which he was delighted as he was a keen golfer

And he expected to receive a sports car from his Dad, as he had dropped many heavy hints over the course of the previous year.

Instead his Dad told him that he loved him and handed him a wrapped-up present.

When he opened it, he found it to be a box containing a leather bound Bible, with his name inscribed on the spine.

Angrily the young man tossed the box and Bible aside and stormed out saying: with

“With all your money, all you can give me is a Bible!”

And they never spoke again, despite the fact that the young man’s father tried hard to contact him.

Years later, he got a call from his Uncle to say his Dad had died, leaving him everything.

As he was going through his father’s belongings, he found that Bible still in its box.

Curious, he took the Bible out of the box and opened it.

The page fell open at a passage his father had marked.

And as he looked at the page, he noticed that his Dad had underlined Mt. 7:11,

“ If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father give what is good to those who ask Him. “

And as he read it, a car key fell from inside the Bible.

It had a tag with the dealer’s name on it – for the sports car that he had wanted years earlier.

On the tag beside the date of his 21st birthday he read the words: “Paid in full love, Dad.”

Christmas is the time we remember the birth of Jesus Christ born over 2011 years gao

What is it about Jesus Christ that marks him out as being different?

1. Bethlehem

After all, He was born in an obscure village, Bethlehem – in a backwoods of the Roman Empire – Israel.

And what is more he was born in a stable rather than in a hotel room.

Because a pregnant Jewish woman was not seen as important enough to shift another guest.

2. Second rate citizen

He was a member of a defeated race - a second-class citizen in his own country, with next to no rights at all.

3. Galilee

His parents were poor and came from Galilee, a province that was looked down upon.

Galileans were considered to be “hill-billies”.

Not great credentials to impact the world stage!

4 His Life

But let’s look at his life.

He never wrote a book.

He never held high political office.

He never commanded an army.

He was single and never had his own family.

He did not go to college or University.

He never preached in the most influential cities of the era, Rome, Athens and Alexandria. After all, that was the conventional way to make a name for yourself

He did none of the things associated with greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.

And in the end he was executed as a common criminal on a cross by the Romans and his disciples fled

And the smart money would have been on this Jewish sect dying out.

But within 300 years his followers turned the known world upside down despite persecution

5. So how come this baby become the greatest “Star” – in that the world has ever seen?

Jesus the Son of God came into the world. He was a man with a mission.

He was sent by God into our world for a purpose.

St John tells us

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 (John 3:16)

God sent his son Jesus into the world as the first Christmas present, to enable us to have eternal life.

Jesus said about his own ministry

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

So many people think being a Christian is a boring life but that is far from the truth.

Jesus offers us abundant life.

Story: Our children have left home and so we run the

occasional Bed and Breakfast at the Vicarage

And we have had great opportunities to share our faith with those who come to stay

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