The matchless gift

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas continues to be an exciting time of the year. It is a time of great celebration for many Christians and non-Christians all over the world. It was all God's idea. He so loved this world that He gave, John 3:16. And we are to follow His example. Christmas is a time for loving and giving. Nothing can compare to that first Christmas gift when Jesus was born of Mary, in a stable, and placed in the manger (a feeding trough for sheep). The Christmas story is ever new because Jesus is still being born in the hearts and lives of men, women, boys and girls. Jesus stands at the door of every heart and knocks. Whosoever will hear His voice and will open his heart's door; The Lord has promised to enter and to abide, Revelation 3:20. "But as many as received Him, to them He gives power to become the sons of God...(we become His children), John 1:12. Mary and Joseph were to "... call His name Jesus for He would save His people from their sins," Matthew 1:21. Eternal life comes to those who open their hearts to Him and choose to follow Him. "My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life," John 10:27-28a.

The birth of Jesus dates back to a little over 2000 years ago. There were many who did not believe or have room or time for Jesus back in His day, and there are many who do not believe and have no room or time for Him today. It is an amazing thing to realize that we are dealing with a true story that has never grown old. I love the traditional Christmas Carols that I grew up with and that we faithfully sing and hear year after year. And I marvel at how many hymn writers include the Christmas story of Jesus and His love in their writings. Songs such as "Tell Me the Old, Old Story" by Arabaella Hankey and "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" by Fanny Crosby. In the first verse Fanny refers to the Christmas story:

"Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word

Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard

Tell how the angels, in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth

Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings on earth"

And in "I Love To Tell the Story" by Arabella Hankey, who in the chorus makes it clear that the story never grows old:

"I love to tell the story!

'Twill be my theme in glory

To tell the old, old story

Of Jesus and His love"

Many gifts have been given and received down through the years. My parents would often make gifts that didn't cost much, but they invested a lot of time, prayers and love and they made wonderful memories. When my parents pastored here in Spencer in the early 40s, Dad made my sister Darlene and me red sleds and we have never forgotten that Christmas. Much time, money and effort can go into gifts. Many gifts would be considered rare, some unbelievable and hard to match and everyone would have a story to tell, yet none could compare to the gift of Jesus and His love to this world. And that is not the end of His love story to us. Jesus told His followers while He was with them during His earthly ministry, "now I am with you," I must leave but I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you again and will dwell in you, John 14:17. Jesus did leave them in Acts chapter 1, and He returned unto them when He sent the gift of His Spirit in chapter 2. The Lord's desire is to enter every heart with the gift of His Spirit as He did on the day of Pentecost when the Church first started. It is the personal gift of His Spirit that is also matchless and is promised to everyone who will ask and invite Him in, Luke 11:13. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 6:23. We must repent of sin and then we can ask for the matchless gift of His Spirit, which is eternal life. What could match that? It is the greatest and most practical gift that can be received by anyone. It can be used every day of our lives and is needed to live the Christian life down here and to take us to the place He is preparing for us -- heaven, Rom 8:11. The matchless gift is available. Nothing can match what the gift of His Spirit can do in the human heart. Why not invite Him in today?

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