Christmas- The Greatest Gift

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Christmas- The Greatest Gift

I can remember most all of the best Christmas’ from most of my life. I remember the traditions we had as a family of being able to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas.
Tonight I want to share with all of you a tradition that I have continued with my family that I actually first learned from my wife’s family.
i remember a time when I drove down to Johnstown PA back when I was dating my now beautiful wife Bethany. I drove down excited because I was going to ask her to marrying me. This was happening around Thanksgiving. I ended up staying much longer then expected because my Bethany blew up my car, but that isn’t the story I want to share with you.
The story I want to share takes place on Christmas Eve/ Christmas day. On Christmas eve everyone gets in their pajamas and then Grandpa reads, Twas the night before Christmas, messing up words in order to get a reaction from the kids and grandkids. They we all go to bed
On Christmas Day I get woken up at the crack of dawn, Like I went to bed at 2 am and they woke by bells at 3am, just to open up a stocking and then sit their and wait for Bethany’s parents to come staggering out and make coffee.
You think that now is the time for presents yet we must wait longer, and this is where the tradition that has stuck with me takes place.
We sit their and listen to Luke 2- the Story of the birth of Christ. It reads
Luke 2:1–20 ESV
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
One time after reading this very story I was once recently asked what does this story say about God’s loves.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The story of Christ is the ultimate story of love. It is the reason/motivation that God sent Christ into the world.
John 3:17–18 ESV
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Christ came to save the world from condemnation- Which means to stand judged. Christ came into a world that stood judged. The world was fallen, corrupt, full of hurt and pain. And it is into this world Christ came with the angelic announcement of “I bring you good news of great joy. unto you is born this day a saviour.”
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Two: The Lord Is Come! (Luke 2)

What was the Good News? Not that God had sent a soldier or a judge or a reformer, but that He had sent a Saviour to meet man’s greatest need. It was a message of peace to a world that had known much war.

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Two: The Lord Is Come! (Luke 2)

The Jewish word shalom (peace) means much more than a truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness. It has to do more with character than circumstances. Life was difficult at that time just as it is today. Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower, and the military state was in control. Roman law, Greek philosophy, and even Jewish religion could not meet the needs of men’s hearts. Then, God sent His Son!

The angels praised God at Creation (Job 38:7), and now here they praised God at the beginning of the New Creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Christ has saved us from our condemnation because we have sinned. Did we deserve this love? No? The Bible is clear that sin is against God, yet God set a savior to free those who would put their faith in Christ from their sins.
To whom was it that the angels gave the message too? In wasn’t Kings, nor was it Priest, but rather lowly shepherds.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Two: The Lord Is Come! (Luke 2)

The first announcement of the Messiah’s birth was given by an angel to some anonymous shepherds. Why shepherds? Why not to priests or scribes? By visiting the shepherds, the angel revealed the grace of God toward mankind. Shepherds were really outcasts in Israel. Their work not only made them ceremonially unclean, but it kept them away from the temple for weeks at a time so that they could not be made clean. God does not call the rich and mighty; He calls the poor and the lowly (Luke 1:51–53; 1 Cor. 1:26–29).

Today if you are here this is the story of the Gospel- God so loved the world that He gave the ultimate gift- the Greatest news- A Savior has come to free you from your sins.
The Bible says that because of Jesus coming, dying on the cross, and rising again we now adopted in.
Galatians 4:4–7 ESV
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
What an amazing display of God’s Love for us! How great is God’s love for us! I love my children more than anything because they are my kids. I made them. They carry part of me.
God came for a world that was far from Him. A world that was lost in sin. A world that didn’t want anything to do with Him. A world that all His live tried to kill Him. A world that to this day mocks Him. Yet to those who confess their sins, and but their faith in Jesus Christ, He gives the right to be part of His family.
Today I give you good news of Great Joy- Christ has come and you can find healing, wholeness, and forgiveness in Him.

A new mother stayed with her parents for several days after the birth of her first child. One afternoon she remarked to her mother that it was surprising the baby had dark hair, since both her husband and she were fair. The grandmother said, “Well, your daddy has black hair.” To which the daughter replied, “But, Mama, that doesn’t matter, because I’m adopted.” With an embarrassed smile, that mother said the most wonderful words her daughter had ever heard: “I always forget.”

All Christians are adopted children of God who are accepted by God with the same unconditional love that this mother had for her daughter.

This is the greatest gift that God could give- we were lost but now we are know as His!
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