Luke 2:10 KJV ) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The greatest Christmas gift will not be found under a tree. You can not wrap it up and tie a bow around it. The real gift never runs out of batteries, it never fades away, it will never leave you wanting more. The real gift is not forgotten after the first of the year. IT will not rust, it will not fade, it will not make you frown, it will not give a stomach ache, it will not leave you wanting more. It will not disappoint you, it will not ever, never let you down.
We all know that the reason for the season is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. But sometimes we forget the gift that is ours. Too often we look at the gift as a list of rules and a cross to bare. Rather then being filled with the fullness of God we fill ourselves with laws and traditions, and statutes, and customs, and when we are not able to live them ourselves, we feel guilty and others look at us as Hippocrates.
On that night the angles filled the night sky, and pronounced “good will toward men,” they were not informing us of a gift that is going to fill our lives with burdens and tribulations. In fact it is just the opposite the gift that was given to us that glorious night was given to set the world free.
It was the gift of grace, it was the gift of love, it was the gift of forgiveness, it was the gift of unlimited potential, it was the gift of eternal, abundant life. The Bible tells us that we have been blessed by God from heaven with all spiritual blessings. (Ephesians 1:3) We have been given the “Fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) We have been made joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17)
As we celebrate Chrsitmas with our friends and family, exchanging gifts and breaking bread together, let’s make sure that we don’t forget the Gift that God has freely given us. Have you ever given somebody a gift and discovered that they had either re-gifted it or just tossed it aside? Have you ever given someone a gift and when they opened it you knew immediately that they did not like it? Have you ever really wanted to blow someone’s socks off with a gift and after spending hours, days, sometimes weeks looking for the right gift, saving up the money to pay for it then you give it to the person you love and they are like…. ‘Oh,,gee… thanks….” And then quickly go on to open some other gift that someone else had given them and they go crazy over it?
Now, I am not saying this to make you feel guilty of about not fully appreciating the gift that God has given you, but I do want you to know the depth of the thought behind the gift. Because I guess, if you get right down to it it really is the thought behind the gift that really matters. That is why when someone gets you exactly what you secretly have wanted, but told no one about, you feel as if that person really must know you and care a lot about you.
And that is exactly the thought that God has towards you. He loves you so very much. He has numbered every hair upon your head and knows your thoughts and hopes and dreams. He knows your skills and your talents, your weaknesses and your strengths. He knows that the thing you need the most is real….. I mean real love. And that kind of love can only come from Him. Because He is love. (1 John 4:16)
But he also knows the little things that make you smile and wants to give you your heart’s desire.
Living the abundant life begins with accepting the gift of God’s love. I mean really accept it. Accept His love for you. Know that He thought of you before He put the stars into place. He was thinking of you before he stepped out of heaven and was born in that manger. He was thinking of you as He spread his arms out upon that cross. He was thinking of you when He defeated death and rose from that grave. He was thinking of you as He formed you in your mother’s womb. He was thinking of you that wonderful moment of your first breath. And His thought for you out number the grains of sand along the oceans. (Psalm 139:17 & 18)
So with every gift you open this Christmas, remember the gift that God has given to you. For you are His gift. You are the apple of His eye. You are the reason He created it all. You really are that special to God.
And all you have to do is to receive it. The wrapping paper is your heart. Open you heart and let Him in. Accept His forgiveness and know that He has made you white as snow. No matte what you may have done in the past, No matter what bad habits you have right now. Accept the gift of God’s love for you and let the gift take care of the rest. It is God who, by His perfect gift to you gives you both the strength and the will to become that better person that you know deep inside you really are. And with God’s help you will be all of that and more. The more you put your trust in Him the greater he will be able to use you for His glory. You can change the world. You can shine forth the gift of God’s love so that the whole world will be able to see the truth of God’s eternal, abundant, never-ending, unconditional….. supernatural…. Love.
That gift is yours today, and it will never fade away.
I want to leave you today with this wonderful poem I found on the internet. While reading it I heard all that I have said over the last five weeks, on this road to Bethlehem series. I trust you to will discover the truth of God’s eternal love and forgiveness for yourself and leave from this reading changed, forever free, forever loved, forever in the arms of Jesus, as you accept… the gift of God.
The Gift of God
Long before the day when Mary gave birth,
Before God formed man from the dust of the earth,
Before the stars into the heavens were hurled,
There was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Before the deadly fall of the race,
God's plan of redemption was already in place.
His own Son would die on an old rugged cross,
To save His creation from eternal loss.
God foretold His coming from the opening book,
The Seed of the woman for whom we should look.
Abraham, Isaac, and the sacrificial ram,
Foretold the sacrifice of the great I AM.
The prophets proclaimed the place of His birth:
Bethlehem of Judea, where God came to earth.
His name did the prophets clearly foretell:
Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Immanuel.
In the fullness of time God's word came to pass,
The birth of the Savior to a young virgin lass.
His mission on earth was finally unfurled,
The Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world.
The way to the Father was shown us by Christ,
He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
He came to release the deathgrip of sin,
He went to the cross our redemption to win.
It was for our sin that He suffered and bled,
Yet triumphant, victorious, He rose from the dead.
Now seated in heaven He eternally lives,
Mercy and forgiveness freely He gives.
Salvation is promised to all who'll receive.
Trust the Lord Jesus and in Him alone believe.
Repent of your sin and for His mercy do plead,
And from sin, death, and hell you will surely be freed.
O this Christmas may your life truly start.
May the glory of God shine into your heart.
May the gift of God -- His Son Jesus Christ
Bring true peace and joy into your life.
And what can separate us from such wonderful
So rich and so full from our great God above?
Nothing, no nothing, in all creation can part
The Lord Jesus Christ from a redeemed, trusting heart.