Yesterday I had the privilege of sharing a sermon at Main Street Church in Northfield. It was a cold morning with temperatures below zero, but inside the old church it was warm with fellowship and the love of Jesus.
My sermon was called "A Present with a Purpose." I spoke about how God is a loving Father who delights in giving good gifts to his children (James 1:17). I introduced the 5 love languages and explained that God is pentalingual, meaning he speaks all five love languages fluently. During the Christmas holiday, however, the focus is on God's love language of giving, when we remember and celebrate the greatest gift he ever gave, His Son Jesus.
Jesus came so that we could be reunited with our Heavenly Father. Our sins, those times when we (knowingly and unknowingly) turn our backs to God's ways and will, separates us from God. But thanks to Christ, our sin is forgiven and we are welcomed back into God's family. Paul talks more about this special gift in Romans 6:23.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
Remarkably, God spoke the love language of gifts when his Son was born to Joseph and Mary in the manger. And the divine gift giving didn't stop there. Because we are so sinful and rebellious God knew we would overlook the gift of his Son. He knew we would continue to turn our backs to Him, and so he gave us another gift, the gift of faith, which enables us to see Jesus clearly and to lay ourselves before him in worship and adoration and surrender. As it says in Ephesians 2:8,
"For it is by grace you saved been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God."
So now at Christmas we come face to face with three gifts which demonstrate and declare to us the love of our father. The baby Jesus, faith in Christ, and eternal life by Him. And a choice is laid before us. What will we do with these gifts?
I see four options.
1. We can overlook the gift, leave it unwrapped under the tree.
2. We can accept the gift, and then place it on a shelf unused.
3. We can accept the gift, enjoy it for a while, and then discard it when it breaks or is no longer of value and use to us.
4. We can accept the gift, and place it in the place of prime importance in our lives.
I encourage you to choose #4. Receive the gift of faith and eternal life offered to you through the coming , life and death of Jesus. Treasure it daily and press into Christ more and more.