Cycle A Christmas

 Is. 9:2-4, 6-7; Tit. 2:11-14; Lk. 2:1-16

The story “The greatest gift” tells of a man who is depressed and not satisfied with life. As a result of his depression, he contemplates and begins to make plans to commit suicide.

One day, George travels to a bridge, bent on ending his own life. Before he is able to kill himself, however, another man (who is poorly dressed but well-mannered) approaches George. George, in turn, strikes up a conversation with the man and tells the man that he wishes he had never been born. The man grants George's wish and hands him a bag, which the man says George should carry around with him.

Eventually, George returns to the town he once called home, but no one knows who he is because he was technically never born. As he checks in on his friends and family, he discovers that their lives have taken a much darker turn. His brother, who George had saved from death, was dead. The woman he married was in a loving relationship with someone else. George, in fact, attempts to enter his house but is quickly rebuffed by his wife and her new husband.

George is dejected and returns to the bridge, hoping that he can convince the man to put him back in his old life. The man

tells George that he was given the best gift anyone could ever have, life. George decides to beg the man for his old life back. The man agrees and George returns to his past life.

In the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned and fell away from God, they experienced a sense of alienation between themselves and God, and between each other and with their own hearts. God promised that he would send a Savior for them and for all humanity. Christmas is a greatest gift of God to man. The relationship that was broken in the garden of Aden is reestablished by Jesus. The doctrine of Christmas is that God became historical. The manger, the ministry of Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus made the story of Jesus a historical one.

When we celebrate Christmas, everyone wants to give his loved ones the perfect gift. The Bible tells us that God has gifted each person with at least one special talent or ability. I Corinthians 7:7, “But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” What makes these gifts so perfect is that God has given us gifts to complement one another as we work together as one body in Christ.

Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest-ranking student in the class was a blind. When he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend. They had met one another in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books which the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the individual deficiency of each was compensated for by the other. 

We have been given spiritual gifts by God in order to accomplish His work and to be of help to others. I Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

In the Scriptures, we see that God can take our choices for his purposes. The story of Esther is a great example of it. We don't have to be a famous figure like Esther, Joseph, or Mary to have God dictating our destiny. The Proverbs 16:9 says that in our heart we plan our course but the Lord ultimately determines our steps. God is using our free choices and is fulfilling his destiny through us in his perfect time.

God uses our ordinary choices to accomplish his eternal purposes, and he does it in his perfect time.  That's why Mary is such an important model, because Mary, when God speaks to her through the angel and is told, "You're going to become mother of the Most High God," Mary knows that it will disrupt her life. And yet, she simply says, "Yes, may it be to me as you have said."

So, when God speaks to us, probably not through an angel like Gabriel, but perhaps through Scripture, perhaps through circumstance, perhaps through the Spirit just moving in your heart, we should be able to say "Yes" and allow the living God to weave something beautiful in and through our life.