Summary: Candle Light Service Short Sermonette
THREE WRAPPED PRESENTS OF JESUS
Tonight as we gather for Christmas Eve, as we prepare to light candles in honor of Jesus’ birth, I would like us to reflect on wrapped presents. Wrapping presents, according to some is an ancient tradition and most of us keep up that tradition around Christmas time. Some (cultureschlockonline.com) have said that people have been wrapping gifts since paper was invented in China in 105 AD. To be honest, that is about the same time that the Book of Revelation was written. It was considered a sacred art and quite a secret for centuries, and no one knows who leaked the news, but by 800 AD, the Egyptians knew all about it. Someone there couldn’t keep a secret either because soon it spread to Europe where the first paper mill was started in 1085.
Wallpaper, the European precursor of gift-wrap, made its first appearance in England in 1509. It was only used briefly, however, because it cracked and tore too easily when it was folded, making wrapping a gift a rather dysfunctional experience. During the Victorian period, only the wealthier classes exchanged gifts and wrapping of them was very elaborate and expensive and topped with ribbons and laces. The subjects on the paper varied from snowy landscapes, to fireplaces to angels, holly boughs and St. Nicholas himself.
Victorian gift-wrap was an art form that developed from designing Christmas cards. Gift papers were intricately printed and adorned with lace and ribbon. As the printing presses developed, endless sheets of wrapping paper could be printed with consistent quality. Most historians agree that America’s modern gift wrap industry began on accident in the early twentieth century in a store in downtown Kansas City, Missouri run by Hallmark founder, Joyce C. Hall.
Tonight as we gather for Christmas Eve, as we prepare to light candles in honor of Jesus’ birth, I would like us to reflect on three wrapped presents that Jesus has given to us. These presents were no accident and were given to us with great purpose. We find all three wrapped presents in the Gospels.
I. WRAPPED PRESENT #1: Jesus’ Birth
Luke 2:5-7 tells us, “He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She WRAPPED him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
The very first present that Jesus ever gave us is what we celebrate tonight. We celebrate the birth of Jesus which means the fulfillment of so many promises in the Old Testament and the promise of so many more in the New Testament. Jesus, God with Us, was wrapped up tight by His mother and laid in a manger. Shepherds came and worshipped. To unwrap this gift, is for us to see that God became a human being for us because He loved us.
II. WRAPPED PRESENT #2: Jesus’ Example
John 13:1-7 tells us, “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and WRAPPED a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was WRAPPED around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" 7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
What Jesus was teaching Peter and the other disciples is what He was always teaching them, He was teaching them to follow His example. That night, Jesus was serving His disciples by performing the lowest task He could… washing their feet. Jesus always taught by example. He taught about compassion. He taught about forgiveness. He taught how to deal with enemies. He showed how to be a friend. Jesus’ entire life was an example to us and in John 13 He wraps all that up into one final example for His disciples, serving one another. To unwrap this gift, is for us to see that we have an absolute perfect example to follow in this life in the person of Jesus Christ.