Some very big gifts come in small packages. And I don’t just mean big in size (like the keys to a new car tucked away in an envelope), but in significance. A card can contain the gift of a check that makes all the difference for someone in a time of need. A little box can contain a ring that forever changes the life of two people. A present may be as small and dull-looking as an envelope, but you learn the true value and significance of it when you look beyond the wrapping. Nowhere in human history is this more dramatically true than in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago. Famed author C. S. Lewis put it into perspective this way: 'ONCE IN OUR WORLD, A STABLE HAD SOMETHING IN IT THAT WAS BIGGER THAN OUR WHOLE WORLD.' That 'Something' is the Someone named Jesus, called "Immanuel," which means "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
You appreciate the value and significance of this gift not just when you take a good look at the One in the stable, but also when you take a good look at the one in the mirror. Do an honest evaluation of your life this past year – even your past week or day will do! – and ask yourself how well you have loved God and how well you have loved your fellow man. Any one sin (but oh, we have many!) would be reason for the holy God to draw back from us forever. But every single sin was the very reason that God drew near to be with us: to be our sinless substitute in life and our sin-bearing substitute in death and our sin-conquering substitute in His resurrection so that we can stand before Him forgiven fully. No one and nothing in our world could do that, so the One greater than our world came to do that. And the immeasurable miracle of Christmas is not just that He COULD do that, but that He WOULD do that! Such is His love for you! I pray that this gift of "God with us" makes all the difference for you and forever changes your life.
Come visit us at CHRIST OUR REDEEMER for more of this message of God's grace!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.