Luke 2: 1-20)
Tonight, even as our world is
on a heightened terror alert, reminding us of the evil that
exists among us, our eyes turn once again to that bright star
in the east, the star that leads to the light of love, to the
light of peace, the star that leads to the light of hope for
humankind. For tonight is born in the City of David, a gift
from God, whose life is timeless, whose appeal endless, and
whose purpose is saving and far reaching. This evening we
remember the birth of Jesus, a gift given to humanity over
2000 years ago. Tonight we celebrate Emmanuel, God with us.
Let us pray. Lord, focus us
on your message for tonight, which centers on a baby born to
Mary and Joseph many years ago. Fill our hearts with the joy
and love that comes from this most unforgettable gift, given
to us by your grace. Amen
So what gifts did you receive
last year for Christmas? Do you remember? Do they still work?
Do they still fit? Do you even know where they are? Quit
honestly many of us don't remember what we received last year,
and if we do often times it's something that ends up broken,
or shoved in a closet after we've lost interest. The truth is,
the excitement of Christmas, the unwrapping of gifts and big
family dinners, tends to be short-lived and dissipates as a
new year begins and the days begin to go by once again.
Why is this? Why is it that a
day so looked forward to comes and goes so quickly, eventually
becoming a blur as the newness of spring comes upon us and the
warmth of summer approaches?
It's because we haven't taken
the time to reflect on the real meaning of the season and what
it means to us personally and spiritually. It's because, even
though the world is so large and so full of everything
imaginable, it's really unable to satisfy our human heart.
I'm convinced if we take
Christ completely out of Christmas, as some seem to want to
do, this season we treasure will cease to exist. What keeps
Christmas alive and unforgettable isn't the sales and
decorative malls, it's Christ. Without Christ as the reason
for the season, the secular aspects of Christmas would fade
away like a sunset on the horizon.
During the Christmas season
many spend a great deal of time looking for the perfect gift,
the gift that will bring ultimate satisfaction and joy.
But you see this heart of
ours has a special need, it has a hole in it if you will, a
special place that can only be satisfied by one gift, the gift
of Jesus. Try as we may, all the toys, jewelry, computer
games, and stuff that is so fun to buy and receive cannot
replace the need for Jesus in our lives, and never will. And
it's when we learn, understand, and acknowledge this truth
that our lives take on new meaning, and we gain an eternal
perspective on what Christmas is all about.
It's only when we recognize
Jesus as our savior that we begin to understand our purpose in
life, and by understanding our purpose, the satisfaction we so
desperately seek at Christmas becomes reality, it becomes a
part of us. God not only becomes incarnate in Jesus, but God
becomes part of us as well, as his Spirit lives in and among
What I've come to learn over
the past 44 years is that there's only one gift that
transcends time, only one gift that keeps on giving, only one
gift that I can truly say is unforgettable and worthy of
constant praise, and that's the gift of Jesus.
Lets face it how many of us
would gather year after year to celebrate the gift of a TV or
microwave we received say 20 years ago. Yet here we are over
2000 years later celebrating this one gift from God, Jesus
Christ. So there must be something more to Christmas and this
divine gift, because we keep gathering year after year to
remember and to celebrate.
God's gift to us, the baby
Jesus, is a gift given to all people, a gift that keeps on
giving even after all the Christmas trees are taken down, the
decorations put away, and the batteries become drained in our
This little baby born to Mary
and Joseph, in the little town of Bethlehem is in deed a
special gift, the wellspring of God's love, a gift not bound
by time or memory. Through the birth of Jesus, God has entered
human history for the sake of our salvation. And this gift
requires no batteries, and assembly not required, all that is
needed to receive this gift is faith.
The Christmas story comes
alive again and again, year after year, as followers of Jesus
live their faith and serve others for Jesus' sake, not just
this one night, but every day of our lives. Each year, the
Spirit of Christmas is channeled through the faith and love of
our church family and all of you here tonight, as we gather to
worship the new born king.
As followers of Jesus, know
that God can work many miracles through our willingness to
share the love of Christ. And it's through our sharing of the
love of Jesus, that God's gift to humanity is given, not just
this night, but all days and all nights. Our community and the
world are full of opportunities where God can use us to reach
out to others to share his love, to heal, to help, and to
bring salvation to a broken world. In other words to share the
Yes, this gift we often take
for granted is truly a special gift. Jesus is the only gift
that never gives up on us, even when we treat him like a worn
out Christmas toy, or toss him aside when something new comes
along, as we sometimes do.
Jesus loves us
unconditionally and constantly seeks a relationship with us.
Jesus is the only gift that really makes us whole, thus
satisfying the need in our hearts. Jesus is the only gift that
can save us from ourselves, and from others. And Jesus is the
only gift that lasts for all eternity. On this joyful night,
allow the knowledge and love of Christ to fill your heart, and
move you to proclaim that Jesus is Lord, Wonderful counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Read other messages by Pastor Wade