Summary: Remembering Christmas: It was the long walk of Jesus from heaven to earth that gave us the greatest gift of all. Unwrap the Babe in the manger and discover how great God’s gift really is.

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There are many ways to look at Christmas, depending on who you are and where you are:

1. For the retail merchant, it looks like up to one-third of his annual income.

2. For the atheist and agnostic, it’s a time for parties—revelry--fun and games and the escape from the drudgery of life’s routine.

3. For the church groupies—the unsaved religionists that populate so many of our churches, it’s a time to flaunt their religion without personal commitments beyond the holidays.

4. For the believers—those one who truly know Jesus as their personal savior… and those who know him as a guide and source of life, morality, and ultimate satisfaction—to us, Christmas is a time to reflect on the greatest gift that has ever been given: Eternal and abundant life, free for the taking… all paid for by…

• A God who loves us enough to die for us;

• A God who was not satisfied simply to take our sin away, but also

• A God who wrapped us in his own goodness—his own righteousness—just so he could fully embrace us in his love… and continue to bless us beyond belief.

That’s the real Christmas.

And it didn’t start in Bethlehem.

That was just the public announcement—the delivery of a promise made so long ago.

It started in eternity past—before God laid the foundations of this earth.

As the New Living Testament expresses it in Ephesians 1:4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us… and chose us in Christ to be holy—(set aside and dedicated to him)--and without fault in his eyes.

5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.

Just think; God took great pleasure in giving us salvation through Jesus as our Christ.

To God, the abuse, the suffering, the cruel death of Jesus on the cross, was worth it all, because through it he adopted us into his own family—forever!

Some years ago, a missionary in a small coastal village in East Africa was explaining to kids, who never had anything of their own, why believers give gifts to each other on Christmas day.

"The gift,” she said, “is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other."

When Christmas came, one little boy brought the teacher a unique and a very beautiful seashell.

She asked, "Where on earth did you ever find such a beautiful shell?"

”There’s only one place,” the lad said, and he named an isolated bay several miles away.

So taken by the beauty of the little shell and how far the child had to go to get it, she finally stammered: "Why ... why, it’s gorgeous ... wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me."

His dark eyes brightened to match the beam of his smile as he explained, "Long walk part of gift."

Each step of the way, the child anticipated the joy his gift would bring as he trudged the many miles to bring it back.

God, also delighted to make the long trip from heaven to Bethlehem—

• From the splendor of paradise to a dingy, dark manger;

• From that hay-filled stable to a cross;

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