Summary: Christmas

Unwrap: The Gift of God

Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)

Merry Christmas Brothers and Sisters!

It is such a joy to celebrate the birth of Jesus together this morning!

Could you please, turn to the person next to you and greet each other Merry Christmas!

I would like to begin with the Story of little Joey…

Christmas was an exciting time for 10-year old boy Joey. For him Christmas was still a time of wonder. It was Christmas Eve and the ground was white with snow. It was cold and clear, and the stars were bright. The family was on their way to the grandparent's house. It was their family tradition. Joey could hardly wait. His mind raced with ideas about what gift would be under the Christmas tree for him tonight. Every year they would gather at grandpa and grandma's house. There was always a huge Christmas tree, and there was always a gift under the tree for everyone.

The kids would sneak peek to find out where their gift was located. Joey was usually one of the first to find out where his gift was placed. But, this year it was different. He didn't find his gift right away, even though he searched all over. He began to worry. Then his eyes caught a big box in the corner. It was huge! He slowly walked over to it, and sure enough written on the tag was his name Joey. He smiled from ear to ear and his eyes were wide with excitement.

It was Grandpa who always handed out the gifts. He was quite slow, but this year, he seemed really slow. Joey could hardly wait to receive his gift. Finally, grandpa started calling out names. Everyone else’s name was called, but not his. So, Joey began to worry again. And, at last Joey's name was called. When he received his gift, he asked Grandpa, "Is this really mine? Is this big gift really mine?" Grandpa reassured Joey that it was his. So, Joey immediately unwrapped the big box. And guess what he found in there?... Joey found the best Christmas gift he had ever received!

Like Joey, Christmas is an exciting time of the year for many of us. Because it is the season when we give and receive gifts. We enjoy buying, wrapping, giving, receiving and unwrapping our Christmas gifts. Now, gifts are significant to both the giver and the receiver. Because they show that we are thinking of each other. But, what if you received a gift, but you never opened it?

You wouldn’t know what was inside. What if Joey never opened that big box? He could have missed the best gift of his life. Btw, Have you ever left your Christmas gift unopened? I haven’t! I get so excited to unwrap the gift and see what is inside. Normally, people get excited to open their gift. But, there is one gift that many people have received, but only few have opened it. Many people have left this gift unopened. So, let us turn to the Gospel of Luke 2:1-7 to learn about this unopened Christmas gift.

TEXT: Luke 2:1-7 (Read)

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Brothers and sisters, this is the account of the very first Christmas that took place 2000 years ago. And it is important for us to remember that the first Christmas was all about the gift of God. But, today, the popular culture has twisted this account of the first Christmas. People are busy unwrapping their Christmas gifts, and they have no time to unwrap the gift of God. So this morning, we will go back to the first Christmas to see how God has prepared His Gift for us. And we will learn how to unwrap the Gift of God this Christmas.

God prepared for the first Christmas in two ways: First is the…

a. Census in Roman Empire (vs. 1-3).

In verse 1, we read that Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This census was the first of its kind. And it was done to make sure that everyone in the Empire was paying their taxes correctly. Caesar Augustus was one of the most powerful emperors. He was often treated like a god. Since it was a decree from Caesar Augustus, it was required for everyone. So, ‘everyone went to their own town to register.’ People could not simply register from where they lived. They had to go to their ancestral home to register. Because, back then, they didn’t have online registration. And the head of the family couldn’t register his whole family; everyone had to appear in person.

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