Are you ready for Christmas?
That’s a pretty common question right now. Are you ready for Christmas?
One way we get ready for Christmas is by picking out presents and wrapping them. We may spend lots of time carefully wrapping presents.
Why do we wrap presents?
Why don’t we just say, here’s a book…a sweater…a ball?
One reason why is to surprise people. When a present is wrapped, you don’t usually know what it is. It’s a secret!
You might spend time shaking or pinching or weighing boxes, trying to figure out what’s in each one. You are curious.
I wonder what’s in it?
A soccer ball? No, too flat.
A sweater? No, too heavy.
A bicycle? No, too small.
Another reason we wrap presents is to show that the present is special. And the person you’re giving the present to is special.
So you may spend some time deciding what paper to use for each person. For one person, wrapping paper with a pattern of snowflakes and icicles might be best. For another, glittery gold paper might be best. For yet another, a fancy design might be best. You choose the paper based on what you know about the person.
But the fancy paper doesn’t stay on the present. Soon it will be unwrapped. No more fancy paper. And after you open your present, and see the secret that’s been hiding inside, you say Thank you to the person who gave you the gift. If you’re really excited, you may say, Thank you! It’s perfect! I love it!
And when you say that about a present, it’s usually because the person who gave it to you knows you really well.
There is a wonderful gift that comes for everyone. Everyone in the world.
That gift is wrapped, but not in paper. And that gift is no secret.
Are you curious?
That gift is Jesus. Jesus is a gift from God. Jesus is the son of God.
I wonder if God spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to wrap this wonderful present. Not in fancy paper, no. Jesus comes as a baby, wrapped in human flesh. The same way you come, wrapped in human flesh. The same way everyone you know comes wrapped in human flesh. The same way people of all different shapes and sizes and colors come wrapped in human flesh.
When Jesus was born, people were surprised — the same way we may be surprised when we open a present.
No one expected God to come in the form of a little baby. No one expected God’s son to be born to people who were not rich. No one expected God’s son to be born in a stable full of animals.
But when Jesus was born, angels sang an important message, telling people that this baby, a baby the world had been waiting for so long, had been born. In the dark night sky, a star shone with a brilliant light, helping people find Jesus in the darkness.
God’s present of Jesus comes to us because we are special to God. Each one of us is special to God. And God knows us, knows each one of us, very well. The gift of God’s love will never break or be outgrown or go out of style.
Tonight we remember how much God loves us, to give us such a wonderful present, and we say Thank you. Thank you for this little baby, for God wrapped in human flesh. Thank you. It’s perfect. I love it!
There’s something else we remember tonight. Soon we will sing and go to the creche with presents, some wrapped, and some not wrapped. These presents are for children who are not here tonight. They are for children who need sweaters and teddy bears and all the gifts you are bringing, because there may be no one else who can give them gifts. When we give gifts to these children, it makes God’s heart glad, because God loves those children just like God loves you.
Now here’s a question. If you were going to give a gift to God, how would you wrap it?
I will tell you the best way. Wrap the present in yourself. Because the best present you can give to God is yourself. That present makes God and all the angels sing for joy. And it makes the stars shine a little brighter, as God says, Thank you for the gift of yourself. It’s perfect. I love it!
Now: Are you ready for Christmas? Because Christmas is ready for you!