Sunday, December 17, 2017

Gaudete - The Third Sunday In Advent (Advent 3) / Sunday School Christmas Lessons & Carols

Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7; Luke 1:26-35, 38; Luke 2:1, 3-7; Luke 2:8-16; John 1:1-14

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Christmas is truly about the incarnation of the Son of God: The Word became flesh and made His dwelling amongst us. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the eternal, creative Word spoken by the Father, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin womb of Mary and was born to us as an infant child in the city of David, Bethlehem. God dwells with man as a man. He knows what it means to be a man; He knows what it means to be you better than you do. And so, you do not have a God who is far off, but you have a God who is very near. You do not have a God that cannot empathize with your weaknesses, griefs and temptations, but you have a God who has experienced all these and has suffered and died in your flesh.
Yet, perhaps, the most astounding, and the most comforting thing about the incarnation of our Lord is the love that He displayed in it. For, the incarnation is God stripped naked and presented to you bare, entirely for you. He gave Himself as a gift to you without any concern for Himself at all. He came out of the womb naked, like all men, weak, helpless, needy, vulnerable, and defenseless. Our God became a human child, and our God is still a human man. As Jesus has taught you, there is no greater love than that a man should lay down his life for his friends. Indeed, your God has given Himself to you wholly, holding nothing back, as a gift of perfect and holy love. He came with no demands but with His only desire being that you would receive and benefit from His love, and, perhaps, a hope that you might love Him in return.
He’ll never stop loving you, even if you don’t love Him in return – imagine that! And, He has forgiven you and all people in Jesus Christ, even if you don’t believe that – imagine that! He is for you; there are no conditions or exceptions; He is for you; He is for the whole world! Your God is the greatest gift imaginable – a free and perfect gift of perfect love and perfect grace. But it’s not cheap grace, but it is the most costly and rare grace imaginable. But, truly, that’s what love is. That’s what love means. And that’s what love looks like. Love was born at Christmas. And, Jesus Christ is God’s gift of perfect love dwelling amongst us.
You don’t take a gift. You don’t choose a gift. You certainly don’t earn, buy, or even necessarily deserve a gift. But, you receive a gift. And, you believe the gift is truly yours. And then, you receive the benefit of the gift and the love of its giver who desires only that you would receive and believe and benefit from His love.
That’s the gift of the incarnation. And, that’s what Christmas is truly all about.

In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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