LUKE 2:1-20


Christmas is an exciting time and little Sammy was excited. He was 15 years old and Christmas was still to him a time of wonder. He was a happy child despite his handicap. You see, Sammy was slightly retarded. He still went to school, though he was 2 years behind. And he did the things that most boys do; he played ball, road his bike, fished, climbed trees and other fun stuff.

And for the most part the kids were not too mean -- sometimes they laughed and called him "stupid Sammy" -- but Sammy just didn’t seem to hear them -- he just enjoyed life every part of it; to him life was full of wonder and amazement.

And Christmas was the most wonderful time of all.

It was Christmas Eve, and both the sky and the ground were white with snow. And it was 8 O’Clock, time to go to church for the annual Christmas Eve Celebration. Sammy could hardly wait. He was so excited wondering what present would be under the tree for him this year. Last year he got a telescope.

Every year on Christmas Eve after the service all the children would gather around the huge Christmas tree and each one was handed a present, with their name on it. And even though Sammy was a little old for this they still let him take part.

Sammy’s parents left early that night, because his mother was singing a solo, "Silent Night" and she wanted to practice.

They were the first to arrive at church. And when his dad opened the door; well you can guess where Sammy went; that’s right.. at the speed of light he went right to the Christmas tree and started to look for the present with his name of it.

After a few minutes, he began to worry because he couldn’t find it. Then his eyes caught hold of a big box -- the biggest present that was there. He slowly walked over to it -- lifted the card and there in great big letters was his name "Sammy." He couldn’t believe it, the biggest present was his, and his mind began thinking at the sped of light of all the many possibilities of what was inside; maybe it was a bike; a TV a horse, a tent; ... What was in it -- Sammy could barely stand it -- but he knew he had to wait.

Sammy really did enjoy the service, really, but he kind of thought that 3 days was just a little too long -- well, at least that is how long it seemed to him.

Finally it was over and all the children rushed to the huge tree.

Preacher Joe stared picking up presents and calling out names; Sarah, Bobby, Susan, Sammy was on the edge of his seat -- he was about to burst with anticipation.

The Preacher Joe walked over to the big box and said, "Well, let’s see whose name is on this one," but before he could read the name Sammy bolted beside him and said "It’s mine Preach Joe" "so it is," Joe replied.

Sammy took the box and gently took off the bow, His heart was racing like a jack hammer. His mom and dad stood beside him smiling -- enjoying their sons excitement.

Sammy removed all the paper and laid it beside the box -- And then he began to remove the lid -- In his mind all of the things he hoped to see flashed before his eyes in a second. Finally Sammy got the box open and he looked inside and he saw........

Nothing ---- He saw nothing -- someone had played a trick on stupid Sammy. When Sammy lifted his head, huge tears were streaming down his face.

Who would do something so cruel -- who would play such a mean trick on Sammy... The box was empty.

Everyday, all around the world, this same trick is being played. Though the names and exact situation are a little different -- the results are still the same.

Our world promises people great things; happiness, wealth, pleasure, relationships, fame, success, power. And it wraps them up in a great big box, with pretty paper and a beautiful bow.

And it hands us this box -- as a gift, we get excited; and we take off the bow -- we unwrap the box and we open it with great expectations.... And when we look inside, just like Sammy all we find is an empty box. No hope, no life, no joy, no happiness -- just huge tears of heart break streaming down our face. THAT’S THE KIND OF GIFTS THIS WORLD GIVES US... HAVE YOU EVER OPENED ONE OF HER BOXES? I THINK YOU HAVE AND IT’S NOT FUN IS IT?

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