Unwrapped: Jesus

We gather together this Christmas Eve to remember the greatest gift that we’ve ever been given. At Christmas time, it is so easy to forget about the things that truly matter. Life can be so difficult at times that it becomes easy to lose perspective and get our priorities out of proper arrangement.

This time of year especially, we get so busy with so many things. We make our list and check it twice to make sure that we picked up the right gift for our friends and families. We force time into our already overwhelmed schedules to get together with our family. We even make time for those cousin Eddie’s in our lives. 🙂 We want to make sure that everything is just right and no detail is forgotten about.

Christmas, which is supposed to be one of the most joyous and fulfilling times of the year is all too often filled with stress, drama, and disappointments. The smallest little thing can easily take us from great rejoicing to being pushed just beyond our breaking point; looking something like this:

* National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Edited Flip Out Scene *

This morning, we come together to break through all of that and to allow God to restore to us His joy and remind us what Christmas is truly all about. We meet this morning to trade in our frustrations for peace, to trade in our disappointments for hope, to trade in our sickness for healing, and to trade in our bitterness for forgiveness. We meet to once again trust in Jesus and hand our lives over to Him. We meet to remember that age-old prophecy that changes everything for us: “unto us a child is given.” We all need to have one of these moments this time of year:

* A Charlie Brown Christmas – Linus Scene *

Christmas is all about Jesus. The very Word and Presence of God wrapped in flesh just like you and I. The eternal and all-powerful King of Kings and Lord of Lords humbled in weakness and entrusted to a couple of poor, young people engaged to be married. Jesus, the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive into their lives! Jesus, born in a manger, the joy of the world! The birth of Jesus, perhaps the most generous and loving act in all of mankind’s history.

1 John 4:9-11
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

God’s one and only Son sent into the world. Through Jesus alone do we find not only eternal life, but an abundant life. God’s love for us is so great, His desire to be with us is so strong that He, Himself paved a way to be with us where there was simply no other way. Willingly, Jesus became just like us, weak and tempted in every way, yet never sinned and then gave up that perfect life as a sacrifice to pay the high cost of sin that we all owe. God’s own Son, the living Word of God, given as a gift for you and I!

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

While we were still Grinching through life miserable, easily annoyed by people, and hard to love, God still loved us and chose to give up His only Son as a gift for us. God sees us not only as we are, but He also sees the person that He created us to be! Christmas is unstoppable because the love of God is unstoppable!

* How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Heart Growing Scene *

Only through Jesus can a life be this radically transformed from the inside out! It is only through Jesus that our heart of stone can be removed and replaced with a heart of flesh accompanied by His Holy Spirit! Only through Jesus can we find the strength that we need to overcome all things in life!

1 John 5:5
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Only through Jesus can a person be faced with certain imprisonment, a totaled car, a sick child, a failed business, wrecked marriage, angry teacher, as well as the single individual that caused it all with unspeakable and overflowing joy!

* It’s a Wonderful Life – Merry Christmas Scene *

Glorious and inexpressible joy are ours all because of the miraculous birth of Jesus. Only through Jesus can the name and adjective “Scrooge” take a 180 from meaning one of the most tight-fisted, grumpy, and bitter individuals ready and willing to bah-humbug all that is good to meaning a person of great joy and generosity who embodies goodness!

* Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Scrooge Transformation Scene *

Since this tremendous transformation that has happened within us is possible for anyone, we learn to treat others differently. We view people differently. We are now a prophetic people able to see how God sees others. We see from a completely different perspective than we use to!

2 Corinthians 5:16-21
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We, deserving of hell because of our selfishness, are instead made righteous. We, deserving of death, are instead given a promotion of being ambassadors of Christ appealing to all that they also be transformed by His great, unfailing love! We, deserving to be cut off from God, are instead adopted as one of His very own children! What a glorious thing all made possible by the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son!

We have the divine blessing and choice to become a brand new creation. We do not have to be the person that we used to be and our past does not have to be a label etched across our foreheads for all to see. We can be forgiven of our past, throw off our old selves, and allow God to recreate us as the person that He intended us to be!

Isaiah 9:2-7
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

This morning, we celebrate with joy! For unto us a child is born and unto us a child is given. Christ is Come! We take time now to truly remember and celebrate Jesus, the reason for the season! At this time, we’re going to close by partaking together in communion, the very thing which Jesus chose for us to do in remembrance of Him.