Today we wrap up the season of Advent under our theme “Faith Like a Child.” This Christmas as we celebrate the kingdom of Christ, Jesus himself said in Mark 10:15, Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.
Today we focus on the candle that has been lit the entire Advent season at our church, the big white Christ Candle.
And to help us with our reading this morning is… a child. Stephen, would you read Luke 2:4-11 for us?
Stephen: So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.
Well, I bet right now you can’t wait to open up your presents. That’s especially true if you are a child. As you look at those presents under your tree and think about those presents you will soon be unwrapping, what do you think is inside of them?
I bet there are some really fun things in there and some things that you really need. And I bet every one of them is a great gift.
But you need to understand that the greatest gift that you have ever been given is the gift of Jesus Christ. On that first Christmas, He didn’t come wrapped in pretty paper. No, the Bible says that he came wrapped in large strips of cloth to swaddle Him, just like we do our babies in a blanket today. And he wasn’t laid under a Christmas tree decorated with beautiful ornaments and twinkling lights. No, the Bible says that he was laid in manger, which is a what people in those days fed their cattle out of. It’s the only thing his mother Mary could find.
You would think that the greatest gift you’ve ever been given would have come into this world a different way, but that’s one of the things that makes Him the greatest gift ever. He was born in the humblest of ways and common of ways to symbolize that He is a humble savior for regular people just like you and me.
What makes the gift of Jesus so great is what He as a gift does. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.
You see, every person who receives the gift of Jesus also receives everlasting life. Your sins will be forgiven, you will be adopted into God’s family, and you’ll live with God forever in Heaven.
I bet some of the gifts under your tree come with an unlimited warranty, but none of them come with an unlimited life. That’s why Jesus is the greatest gift ever given.
So, how do you receive the gift of Jesus? You receive the gift of Jesus by confessing your sins, hating your sins, turning away from your sins, and asking God to forgive you of your sins and at the same time trusting in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to save you from your sins and asking Jesus to be your Savior and Lord of your life going forward. That’s how you receive the gift of Jesus.
You can receive Him right. Just bow your head, and either out loud or in your heart, tell God that you know you are a sinner and that you hate your sin, tell him that you believe that Jesus came to save you, ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord.
This Christmas, I hope you get some really cool presents, but most of all I hope you get and enjoy the greatest gift of all, Jesus. May this be a faith-filled Christmas!
(Light the white candle)