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My gorgeous Darlin’ husband held in his hands a gift. I saw the love in a his eyes. It was not my birthday, nor was it our anniversary. In fact there was nothing significant about the day. The gift was wrapped in coloured paper, so I had no idea what it would be. He handed it out for me to take. He said, ‘I am giving you this because I love you.’
I had excited anticipation and reasoned it must be something very special. Something that I wanted and needed because he is giving it to me for no other purpose than to express his love for me.
He expected nothing in return. I took it from him and started to unwrap it. It is only after unwrapping it, that I could discover and receive the fullness of the gift.
unwrapping the gift
Today we will unwrap the greatest gift of all, given out of the greatest love of all.
Luke 2:8-12 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keepi.ng watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
Here we have some shepherds living in the fields looking after their sheep. Nothing is special or different about them. We don’t even know their names, nor their beliefs. They are simply doing what they have always done. Now unexpectedly God breaks through into their everyday. He envelopes them in His glory and the glory of the Lord shone around them.
Therefore He is greater than wherever we are in our life journey. This is such a powerful revelation. The shepherds did not deserve it, they did not earn it, yet as a result of God’s great love they experienced it.
gift of good
The Angel of the Lord speaks directly to them. So many emotions they must have been experiencing. Fear is a most debilitating response. Yet the Angel of the Lord engaged with them. In unwrapping the gift their fear is cast out, empowering them to receive the fullness of it.
Good tidings – is rich in its meaning. Because of God’s love and kindness He fulfils His promises. Now is the time of the coming of His Kingdom. The realisation of the messianic blessings that had been promised.
Promises of healing, freedom, deliverance, great joy, comfort, peace, beauty, justice, honour, truth… and much more. For such is his kingdom.
All this and more is for all people.
personal gift to you
Then God makes Himself personal. Born to you this day is a saviour who is the Christ the Lord. He is the fullness of the greatest gift of all.
The saviour of all people. Saviour is deliverer, protector, preserver, continual and eternal in every aspect.
The Christ to all people. The anointed one and giver of the kingdom.
The Lord to all people. Supreme ruler and authority. The highest title of honour to whom one belongs.
Born to you this day a baby, wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding troth for animals.
How remarkable this must have seemed. What is such a regal baby doing in such a humble everyday setting?
gift of peace
Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
Peace with God, peace with others, peace in mind, body, spirit. Perfect harmony, security, safety and rest. Peace. The desire for peace speaks into every culture. Peace in mind, heart, spirit, relationships, perfect peace. Complete wholeness.
This gift of God, this little baby, is the giver of it all. A continuous peace the surpasses all understanding. Peace is a continuous gift. It is an action gift given by God the Father through Jesus the Son in His Spirit within. When we say yes to Jesus we say to His Spirit. His Spirit of peace.
This peace cannot be withdrawn from us. God never takes back what He gives. He loves therefore He gives. It is for us to take the gift and know Him more. Each day unwrapping more and more of His love, truth and power.
Without Jesus there is no perfect peace. When Jesus returns complete peace will reign not just in our lives but in all the earth. Restoring perfect harmony with heaven and earth becoming one in Him. Until then we have His peace within. Yes the storms of this life can try to take away our peace, especially relationships with others who do not have His peace. The of loss of a loved one, or not having anyone to love or be loved can weigh heavy. I remember when my mother passed on to be with the Lord, I was in a fog for a month. Uncontrollable tears at any given moment when I thought about her. Yet through it all, His peace deep within remained, even if I couldn’t feel it.
Good will to all men. It is the Father’s good pleasure to bring all things in Christ into a oneness or perfect harmony. His heart’s desire is for us to know how much He loves us and to live in the fullness of His love. Such love cannot be contained. It must spill out to others. The Father’s hearts desire is that all will receive His free gift of Himself. The greatest gift of all.
gift of Himself
I can imagine God waits each day for us to wake up and hang out with Him. He wants to be part of our everyday.
I remember I was in a foreign country with an intense ministry itinerary. It was morning and I had time for a quick walk. As I was walking down the dusty street in the morning light, I saw some raw eggs in a stall. I looked and then thought, I would love to have some boiled eggs. It is unusual for me to have a thought about food and given I’m in a remote area where such things are not available made the situation even more bizarre.
I returned to my accommodation and got ready to be met by the village pastor and his wife. When they arrived she gave a big smile, her eyes opened wide and she handed me a parcel wrapped in newspaper. I unwrapped the parcel and guess what was inside? Two boiled eggs. She said God told me you would like two boiled eggs so I cooked them this morning fresh for I you over our fire! We both with tears in our eyes thanked God, totally in awe of Him.
I knew it was not about the boiled eggs, but it was the delight of my Father God to show me how He delights in being part of my everyday. This continues to amaze and astound me.
He has makes Himself known personally to us.
Back to the shepherds tending their sheep. What was their response?
gift of revelation
Luke 2:15-16 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
They were told about the greatest gift of all and delighted in the fact that God had made it known to them, personally. So what did they do? They came with haste and began the incredible daily journey of unwrapping that gift. They went to see for themselves what God has told them.
Luke 2:17-20 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
gift of eternity
After knowing about Him, they saw and experienced Jesus for themselves. As a result they made widely known what was told them concerning Jesus. Consequently all who heard marvelled.
The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. When God speaks it is so.
The eternal gift of God Himself in Jesus is the greatest gift of all.