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The Wonder of the Gift
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 13:11

A little girl was helping her mother unpack the nativity scene and set it up. As she unpacked each piece she identified them. As she got to the end of the box she was heard to say, “And here is Mary and Joseph” . . .and then she got to the figurine of Jesus she said, “And here is baby Jesus in his car seat.”

She was keeping him safe, or at least making sure he was where he needed to be (it made sense to her). I would like to make sure that in our lives a few days before Christmas he is where he needs to be as well.

I tend to get caught up in the wonder of Christmas. It is a season full of wonders…. the wonder of the birth of Jesus, the wonder of the music, the wonder of giving and receiving gifts, and the wonder in the faces of children (to name a few).

A kindergarten Sunday School teacher had her class draw a nativity scene. One youngster had done a very fine job in drawing the baby in a manger with Mary, Joseph and the animals. The teacher noticed that the student had drawn a jolly round man at the manger as well.

She asked, “Jimmy, that is not Santa is it?”
Jimmy replied, “Oh no, that is Round John Virgin!”

That is what he heard in the song, but at least in the picture there was a glimpse of understanding and remembering what we celebrate at this time of year!

Let me encourage you not to lose the wonder. Don’t let the rush and stress rob you of the joy of remembering the awe of Christmas! In the book of Luke, chapter 2, the Christmas story reminds me of the wonder of Christmas. Allow me to take a few moments and share them with you.

First notice the wonder of the angels moved them to glory
(v.14) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Angels played an important role in the birth of Jesus. They were filled with the wonder of all that God was doing. We find them throughout the gospels…the appearance to Zacharias (Luke 1:5-20), the appearance of Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38), the appearance to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25), and the announcement to the shepherds. The multitude of angels gave glory to God. To understand what they were doing let me give you a definition…

Glory (defined): Beauty, power, or honor . . .a quality of God’s character that emphasizes his greatness and authority.

The word is used in 3 ways in the Bible:

1) As a description of a divine quality beyond the understanding of man. It speaks of God’s beauty and perfection of character.
It is used to describe God’s visible presence

2) It is used (as in this case) meaning PRAISE. At times God’s glory may mean the audible praise and honor, which His creatures give to Him.

This was not a new thing, but the occasion was unlike any other.

Corrie Ten Boom used to tell a story about an old monk who would sing a Christmas song at every Christmas Eve service at the church for the people in the village. His voice was not very good, but he loved the Lord and sang from his heart. One year the director of the choir said, “I’m sorry Brother Don, we will not need you this Christmas, we have a new chorus member with a classically trained voice.”

The new singer sang beautifully and everyone was pleased. But later that night an angel came to the music director and inquired, “Why didn’t you have a Christmas Eve song?”

The director was surprised and said, “We did, didn’t you hear it?”

“It may have been inspiring to you . . .but in heaven we did not hear it.” One sang for the glory of God, the other for the praise of men

The wonder of it all should move you to live and give glory to Him. After the angels appeared to the shepherds notice…

The wonder of the shepherds moved them to go (v.15, 20) “the shepherds said to one another, lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened…..the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God….”

The need not to be apathetic as we approach the celebration of Christmas is important. Think about being with the shepherds again . . .An angel appears and God has your attention. The message is given: Christ is born. Now see their response, “Let us go NOW!”

There is no delay…there is nothing more important. There is nothing of greater priority and when they found it to be true, they shared all they had seen. Ask yourself this year, “What has the wonder of Christmas moved me to do?” Ask God to restore the wonder. Then really celebrate Christmas this year!

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