Summary: This sermon urges us to consider whether or not we have truly accepted the Gift of Christ into our lives.

Don’t you love the day after Christmas? Fighting the crowds at the mall just to return an unwanted gift or two. And if you’ve ever waited in one of those endless lines where the customers are impatient and the clerks are too few and too new, you were quick to realize just how the day after Christmas stands in stark contrast to the presumed “spirit of the season.”

Personally, my nerves can’t take the chaos the “the day after” brings. But obviously it doesn’t bother some people. Maybe some of you wouldn’t mind being right out there in the middle of it all trying to exchange that sweater that doesn’t fit, that blouse that’s the wrong color, or maybe trying your best to get a refund on that beloved “chia pet.” And I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that because after all, who wants to be stuck with something they don’t like or can’t use?

But what I want to discuss today is something much more serious and exceedingly more significant than anything that anyone has ever found under their tree Christmas morning. Today, we are going to try to rationalize why anyone would want to return the Perfect Gift.

I want to begin by telling you the story of three brothers. The youngest of these brothers was Kyle--he was six years old. The middle brother Ryan was seven, and the oldest; Randy, was nine. These three were truly an inseparable trio. They did everything together, and they even made a vow to always come to each other’s aid in any time of trouble--except of course when the trouble erupted between them--then they were on their own! But most every time you saw one of these little guys, you could be pretty sure that the other two weren’t far behind...

That is, except for one day when Kyle was playing in the fort that they had all built earlier that spring. His brothers were in the house watching TV but unfortunately Kyle was not alone. You see, it was terribly hot on that late July afternoon in New Mexico, and this little fort provided some very inviting shade for a “non member” of the club; a five foot long western diamondback rattlesnake. Kyle was looking for his favorite water gun, and as he raised the lid on their toy box, the startled snake struck him not once but twice just under his arm. After hearing Kyle’s screams from inside the house, Randy ran out to see what was wrong with his little brother. But as he made his way into the fort, he too was bitten by this venomous intruder. After precious minutes had elapsed, their father and Ryan got a little worried and also went out to see what all the commotion was about. They arrived only to discover Randy and Kyle lying motionless on the floor of the fort, at first they thought that they were just playing like they often times did, but dad came to realize that this was no joke when he caught a glimpse of the back half of the snake as he disappeared into the underbrush right next to the fort.

At the hospital the doctors tried frantically to save the little boys’ lives while mom, dad and Ryan waited helplessly in the waiting room. It seemed like days, but only an hour had passed when the doctor came to inform them of the boys’ condition. As gently and tenderly as he could, the doctor told them the bittersweet news; Randy--since he was much bigger than Kyle and was bitten only once-- had a good chance of making a full recovery....But Kyle’s condition was much more serious; because of the large amount of venom that was injected into his little system, much damage had been done---especially to his kidneys which were ninety percent destroyed. And considering the time that it would take to find a suitable donor, his chances of survival were slim to nonexistent.

Ryan watched from the arms of a kindly nurse as the doctor was talking to his parents. Suddenly he saw his mama fall to her knees crying hysterically. He broke away from the nurse and ran to his mother trying desperately to comfort her. And right there on that waiting room floor, the doctor-who also was a Christian, knelt with the remainder of this little family and he prayed that within this critical 48 hour period that someone would be able to give Kyle a kidney so that he might have a second chance at life.

Within twenty-four hours, the word was spread to every relative that they could think of but no suitable donor was found. The doctor, who had taken special interest in this case, consulted every organ bank and put Kyle on the highest priority list but still, no kidney could be located.

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