With Christmas just around the corner we consider ‘The Greatest Gift’ of them all. With preaching from Chris Hughes.
What is the best Christmas gift that you have ever received? Whatever gift came to mind in response to the question, it pales into insignificance when compared with the greatest and most precious gift of all, namely the gift of God’s Son (Galatians 4 v 4.)
Wrapped in fragile and vulnerable human flesh the creator came to his creation (John 1 v 14), an event of such magnitude and supreme importance. But why is Jesus the greatest gift ever given? Here are two reasons, based on the encounter of the shepherds with the angels. Jesus is …..
1 – The gift that calms fear
The shepherds were minding their own business looking after their sheep, when suddenly the darkness became as day and they were confronted by an angel.
Sensing their terror, the first thing the angel said to these gibbering muscular wrecks was – “Do not be afraid.”
This is one of the great themes of the Christmas story, with the same being said to Zechariah (Luke 1 v 13); and to Mary (Luke 1 v 30.)
In these Covid times when fear is rife, we need to hear again the words of the angel – Do not be afraid” because the good news of Christmas is that Jesus has earthed
himself to be with us to help calm our fears. They do not have to be faced alone, but from the perspective of a relationship with the ever present one (Hebrews 13 v 5.) And this is why Jesus is the greatest gift ever given.
2 – The gift that channels forgiveness
The shepherds were not to be afraid because the angel brought good news – “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you.” Never before had a bunch of tough, weather beaten men been so exited about the birth of the baby, and despite some rather vague directions, off they went to Bethlehem in search of this Saviour who had been born to them and not to Mary, only to find him lying in a manger. Not only had they heard the announcement, but now they had encountered the Saviour.
This again is one of the great themes of the Christmas story – “a Saviour has been born to you.” It was announced to stand in Father Joseph (Matthew 1 v 21); as well as to elderly Priest Simeon (Luke 2 v 30.)
But why do we need a Saviour? It is because we all need to be forgiven (Romans 3 v 23) of our sin. For it is not just our wrongdoing, but our self-centredness, that separates us from God and prevents us from enjoying a relationship with him. Jesus in his cradle, cross and empty tomb can make such forgiveness for us a reality, should we choose to embrace it. And this is why Jesus is the greatest gift ever given.
Pause 4 thought
I sometimes wonder if Mary ever said to the shepherds – “would you like to hold the baby?” Jesus is the best Christmas present that money can’t buy, and we are invited to hold him in our heats, that his presence might calm our fears and his mercy forgive our sins.
1 – Can you think of any other reasons as to why Jesus is the greatest gift?
2 – Make a list of all your current fears and ask Jesus to journey with you through them?
3 – How would you deal with the person who claims to be a “good sinner?”
Title: The Greatest Gift
Preacher: Chris Hughes