nativity webDo you remember the American Motors’ Rambler?   
Our next door neighbor, Mrs. Liggett, used to pile us kids in her 1959 grey, three-speed shift on the column Rambler and transport us to and from P.S. 22 in Yonkers, N.Y.  For added fun, she’d intermittently push the clutch in and out, thrilling us youngsters in the back seat – and we didn’t even have seat belts!
The reason I bring this up is because of the Christmas Season.  

Not seeing the connection?
My Dad was one who loved to give gifts – but due to his desire for creativity and uniqueness, some of them were, quite frankly, a bit puzzling as to their use and purpose.  Such was the case when he brought home a small box filled with American Motors’ “Rambler” name plates!  A more talented and inventive child, to be sure, would have found some creative use for them, but for me, they ‘went the way of all the earth’ rather quickly.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t thankful – I just didn’t see the purpose or the use for them.

In a similar, but on a much more tragic level, some hear the great proclamation of the Christmas Gift, the Lord Jesus, and are similarly puzzled.  What’s the purpose?  What ‘kind’ of gift is this?

Let me explain.
We know the story.  Without prior warning or notice – though foretold of old - the Angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks by night, and in a dazzling display of unfettered heavenly glory, the Angel told the shepherds that he brought news of great joy which will be for all the peoples of the world - for unto them was born this night in the city of David....a Savior.

The Angel didn’t say unto us is born a “Teacher”, as though we just needed someone who would tell us how to ‘get our act together’, nor a “Life Coach”, who would come alongside of us and untangle the complex maze of psychological problems so we could have ‘our best life ever’.  

Jesus is, of course, a marvelous teacher and a great source of counsel.  But he is so much more than that!  You can go to any library and feast on self-help books.  You can visit your neighborhood counselor and work through some of the challenges living in a sinful world.  But there is only one Savior!  The united theme of Scripture is that Jesus is the Savior of the World because there is no other!  Hence the reason why the Angel’s proclamation is a source of great joy and hope for all peoples.

God doesn’t give superfluous gifts.  He gave the world a Savior because it is impossible for us to save ourselves.  Out of His love for all peoples, God sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe. St. Paul wrote “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  

This gift is a Person, and He is received by faith.  We don’t deserve it, we can’t pay for it, nor can we earn it.  The forgiveness of sins and a new life birthed by God Himself is an act of His loving grace.  Our joy is to respond in faith, trusting the Lord Jesus to save us, for after all, this is what Christmas is all about.

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