Summary: A sermon for the Christmas Season.
“The Perfect Gift”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
Have you ever just watched people as they shop during the Christmas season?
I was out at the mall this past week and watched people as they shopped for gifts and bargains.
I was also out in other parts of town and saw some other people who were pushing empty shopping carts along the street or pushing some carts piled high with an assortment of stuff.
A thought occurred to me that all these people were shopping…
…shopping, perhaps, for hope and peace…
Many of the folks in the mall were shopping, perhaps, for the perfect gift for their dear loved ones.
This past week, Mary Ellen wrote a letter to Santa Clause.
Of course, her pre-school teacher did the writing, but Mary Ellen dictated.
“I want a baby doll, a toy Tinker Bell, a Princess doll, a Dora, and that’s all,” the letter read.
Not only are people shopping for the perfect gift, but lots of people are hoping for the “perfect gift” to appear under the Christmas tree this year.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, but as Christians, we know that the “Perfect Gift” can not be found in a store, or the streets.
The “Perfect gift” which will bring peace and hope can not be bought nor sold.
The “Perfect gift” is free!!!
The “perfect gift” is not one which is unwrapped, played with for a few minutes and then forgotten about and perhaps, eventually thrown away.
The “perfect gift” doesn’t come from Santa.
The “perfect gift” comes from God through Jesus Christ our Lord…and it lasts forever!
God paid the ultimate price in order to present it to us!!!
It is the gift of grace and faith!
As Paul tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
It’s amazing and awesome that the gift of salvation through Christ not only is a free gift from God…
…but faith is as well…the ability to believe!!!
There is nothing we can do to earn the “perfect gift” which brings us hope and peace!!!
And boy, does that put everyone on an even playing field?
When Jesus was beginning His earthly ministry, He went to the synagogue, and read from the Prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened to on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
How many of us are feeling poor this evening?
It’s been a tough year for
Perhaps you are stressed because you haven’t found that “perfect Christmas gift” yet.
Or maybe, you are stressed because you can’t afford it.
But, behold! The perfect gift is bought and paid for!
“Today the scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Maybe some of us are imprisoned.
We are prisoners of our sins, of substances, of abuse, of poverty.
Perhaps some of you feel oppressed.
Maybe you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Maybe guilt from past mistakes are loading you down and making this life nearly unbearable.
The Scripture has been fulfilled!!!
God has come to this earth in the Person of His Son.
God has come to set us free.
In Luke Chapter 6 Jesus proclaimed, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
How can this be?
What are we, who live in 21st Century affluent America to make of this?
What are we, who live in a culture which is constantly telling us, in effect, “Blessed are you who are rich, you can afford to eat out in restaurants several days a week.
Blessed are you who are rich, you can afford a couple of cars and the price at the pump for your great big SUV!
Blessed are you who are rich you can buy a new plasma t-v…you can build McMansions for yourselves…
Blessed are you who are rich, you can go on lavish vacations and waste tons of dough on things you don’t need.
Blessed are you who are rich, you don’t have to live in the slums.
Blessed are you who are rich, you can pay for your own health care.