Remember the greatest gift ever given

I was thinking about what Christmas gifts I might purchase for loved ones, when I was humbled by the impact of these words concerning the greatest gift ever given: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son …”

It quickly put things in divine perspective and filled my heart with thanksgiving. Having limited resources, I carefully considered how much I could afford, and what I was willing to spend – when before my eyes these words appeared: 1 Peter 1:18-19 “18 — knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 — but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

What a price – what a savior!

Sitting back with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, I began dreaming about a white Christmas and the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart: “Though your sins were as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

About that time, I heard music in the background with the tender words: “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays …” Immediately my mind went back to a promise from God’s word that my Sunday school teacher, Sister Drysdale, taught me: John 14:2 – “In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Looks like I am going to be spending an eternal Christmas in a really nice home.

Just after dinner I decided to watch the evening news, and as usual a major portion was devoted to evidences of a troubled world such as conflicts on our borders, violent protests in France, talk of nuclear war from Iran, ongoing attacks in Israel over the Gaza Strip and another American soldier was killed in Afghanistan.

I closed my eyes in grief and heaviness – then suddenly I could hear the Prophet Isaiah shouting these words in my spirit: Isaiah 9:6 – “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on his shoulders; and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

The ringing of my phone interrupted my meditation, as a troubled mother was calling for prayer concerning a child in a great deal of trouble. Crying out with a broken heart, she asked in desperation: “Where is God in all of this?”

I encouraged her with these words from Matthew’s gospel: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us.”

As we prayed, she found new hope as she confessed her faith in the God who is with us.

Yes, this is going to be an awesome Christmas because: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

And, since he is here there is now “Peace on earth and mercy mild – for God and sinner are reconciled.”

The God who came to be with us “Rules the world with truth and grace … while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy.”

And we should “Let nothing us dismay, remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day. To save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray.”

So I invite all of you to enjoy the glorious celebration and sing with me: “O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!”

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)

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