Every year there is a new hot Christmas gift that everyone has to have. In 1985 it was Cabbage Patch dolls. In 1989, Nintendo’s Gameboy was the big thing. In 1996, Tickle Me Elmos were flying off the shelf. A couple of years late everyone had Furbys on their shopping list. The big thing in 2002 was the Apple Ipod. If you got one of those, your cool factor definitely went up! In 2005 X-Box was the big thing. You had to have one of those. In 2011 we went retro, and one of the hot gifts was the Angry Birds Board Game. I don’t know if you have ever played it before, but that game is addictive!
In 2014, for girls, it was the Frozen Elsa sing-a-long doll. I’m not even sure what the song is about. But please, just let it go! Let it go! The hot item last year was the hover board. How hot was it? It was so hot they were catching on fire! So what is the hot gift in 2016? It is something called Hatchibles. Have you heard of these? Someone described it as the lovechild of a Tamagotchi and a Furby! It comes as an egg—and apparently you rub it for a while and it hatches! And out comes this Furby looking thing. It’s freaky!
Now, those are all great gifts. They are. But we are gathered together here on Christmas Eve to celebrate the greatest gift that has ever been given. It is a gift that doesn’t go out of style, and that will literally last for all of eternity. All of these other gifts become worthless in a few years. But the gift that God gave on that first Christmas continues to have the greatest worth.
It was first announced by angels who were watching their flocks nearby. We read about it in Luke 2:10-11.
10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
It is a gift that all of us need. It is a life-changing, eternity-altering gift. Everyone here, it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, it doesn’t matter what you have done or where you are from, every single one of us needs a Savior.
We need to be forgiven, so we don’t have to drag along our past. We all need mercy and grace. I’ve got good news. Jesus was born for you. He is a Savior for all the people. And yet he is not only a Savior, he is Christ the Lord. He wants to be Lord of your life! God loves us too much to just forgive our past, he wants to change us from the inside out, so that our future isn’t merely a repeat of our past. He wants to be our Savior so that we can forget the past, but he also wants to be our Lord so we can have a different future. Jesus wants to change your life! And let’s be honest, our lives need changing!
Speaking of change, it’s amazing how things change from Christmas morning to the day after Christmas. If you were to walk into my house tonight, you would discover a beautiful Christmas tree surrounded by gifts. But the day after Christmas it looks a lot different. All the presents will be gone. Kid’s, family members, they took everything! Cleaned the place out! All that’s left are empty boxes and crumpled wrapping paper. And that is a good thing! It means that everyone came and received their gift. If there were still gifts under the tree it would mean either that someone didn’t come, or someone failed to receive their gift.
You know what makes me sad at Christmas? To see a room this size, filled with all these people, and to know that some of you are going to go home without receiving the gift God offers you. That makes me the saddest of all, because 2000 years ago God became a human and he was born as a little baby in a manger. And he grew up, and he lived a sinless life and then he died on a cross and he paid for your gift. He paid for forgiveness and grace. He paid so that you would have a personal guide through life who is for you and who will always be with you.
But some of you will leave this place without it. That makes me sad. You know the story up here in your head, but you don’t know it down here, in your heart. The Bible uses the word, “believe” or “faith”. Biblical faith involves more than mere intellectual assent. It means to “rely upon fully”, to “completely trust in.” God wants your to receive the gift of forgiveness by placing your trust in Jesus as your Savior.
Here is my prayer this Christmas Eve. It is that if you have not received the gift that God has already paid for you, that already has your name on it, that you would not leave this place without receiving the gift.
And if you have received the gift, it is my prayer that this coming year, like no other previous year, you would share that gift with those who need it most. If you have never received that gift, I would like to give you the opportunity to receive it now. Would you just pray a prayer in the quietness of your heart? Just pray these words:
“Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus for me. Right now, I place my trust in you Jesus as my Savior. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. In the days ahead help me to submit to you as the Lord of my life. Guide me. Lead me the rest of my life. And teach me to love others as you love me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!”
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
Trust Jesus today to save you—throughout eternity and for today’s problems. To learn more about how to have a personal relationship with God, click here.