“She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger.” Luke 2 v 7
Last year, for the first time in nearly 25 years, we did not have the joy of watching a family dog open his Christmas present.
Our retrievers were clumsy animals, but they displayed an amazing dexterity when negotiating volumes of wrapping paper and sellotape. The toy within was invariably chewed to nothing within hours. It was in the unwrapping that they took their pleasure.
So it is with many of us. We love the magic of the beautifully colour co-ordinated shapes that wait, basking in their beauty, under the tree for the day itself.
We may delay the opening, drawing out the luxury of anticipation as long as the children can contain themselves, but then it happens . . . and in a blink it is over. And the glossy wrapping paper lies in shredded chaos on the living room carpet as we gather our presents lovingly into piles. And we regard them, these (in reality) often rather ordinary objects that until a few moments before held such anticipation, such promise.
With God it is the opposite. It always is.
In His eyes our values are upside down. God’s gift came simply wrapped in strips of cloth, constrained within human flesh. Oh, but what that skin contained!
The greatest gift ever given – a gift so expensive that not one human being who has ever lived or will ever live could pay for it themselves. For which of us has the power to make ourselves perfect and holy in the presence of God?
We do not like to acknowledge this need, this gift. For we wrap ourselves and our lives in things – beautiful homes, fashionable clothes, holidays, sport – the Marks and Spencer/Premier League generation – so that we do not have to think about the claims of Christ or what happens to us on the day that we die.
But when Jesus died on a cross and was buried in another man’s tomb it was all part of God’s rescue plan for us. Think of it! God, wrapped tightly in His grave clothes – but not for long because He took the punishment for our imperfection, broke the curse of death and opened the way back to God, to Heaven and to eternal life beyond the grave.
This is the gift He presents to us.
The collapse of those grave clothes and the opened tomb prove that He rose from the dead to be seen by hundreds . . . and today experienced by millions around the world who have gladly received Him and will celebrate His coming this Christmas, revelling in the most amazing gift the world will ever have.
Christmas church services in Chandler’s Ford
Visit Churches Together in Chandler’s Ford for Church Services for Christmas 2015.
Reverend Tim Searle: Being Human – Christmas Message From Churches Together in Chandler’s Ford
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