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Pastor's Place – The Gift

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Do you ever think back to days gone by? To a time before you had what you have now? My college days were some of the leanest. Financially, I had to look up to see the bottom.

When I moved to Florida, I packed all my belongings in my (small) car. Years later I moved back to the Dallas area in that car. And years later, it was on its last gasping breath.

One day I got a call. It was Grandmother. She had heard how the car was, and wanted to help. So she told me she wanted to buy me a car. I was stunned! “Wow,” I told her, “but Grandmother, a used car would cost…” She didn’t let me finish “No Mark… I want to buy you a new car.” Sometime later I drove off the lot in my new Toyota Celica. A true rags to riches story!

But there is another gift even more amazing. We celebrate it at this time of year. God sent his Son. No mere servant, only the very best God had to give. You are familiar with the story. The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary and she conceived. Jesus, God in a Body, came into our world from His. We celebrate this gift, often buying expensive gifts we cannot afford, and give them to people we don’t always like. Yet Christmas remains a magical time of year.

If we know the full impact of the event, and the reason for his coming, it becomes even more meaningful. Man was made for relationships, and the best is a relationship with God. Yet we have gone our own way. A brief survey of history shows how mankind has strayed. A quick glimpse of our own history often reveals our own distance from the God who loves us.

So why the gift? We celebrate the birth, often not realizing its purpose. Jesus became a man, for a purpose. That purpose was to clear away everything that keeps God from giving us a gift—eternal life. Jesus came to us (mankind); he allowed us to place him on a cross, so that he could die.

If you are unfamiliar with Christianity, this may surprise, even shock you. But God had a reason. His reasoning is simple. People had distanced themselves far from his love. In God’s economy, sin requires a payment.

Just as Old Testament sacrifices were made to cover sin, so Jesus’ death at Cavalry took away our sins. The simplest, most elegant statement of this is the famous verse, John 3:16:  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – This is the very best gift!

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