|Theme:||The greatest gift of all -- the gift of God's love. Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year C|
|Object:||A package wrapped in plain brown paper tied up with string.|
|Scripture:||And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me -- holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49 (NIV)|
One of my favorite movies is "The Sound of Music." In that movie, there is a song called "My Favorite Things." Some of you may have seen the movie and you may know that song. If so, you will remember that the character named Maria, sings about her "favorite things." One of the things that she mentions in that song is "brown paper packages tied up with string." A package like this one. (Hold up the package wrapped in brown paper.)
On Christmas morning, we will wake up to find a lot of packages under the tree. Packages wrapped in brightly colored paper and tied up with pretty ribbons and bows. What if there was one package under the tree wrapped in plain brown paper tied up with string -- and what if that package had your name on it? Would that be the package you would choose to open first? I don't think so! After all, a gift is supposed to come in a beautiful package, isn't it?
You know, I think that is why a lot of people have missed out on the gift that God sent to them. You see, God's Gift didn't come in a beautifully wrapped package. God sent Jesus, His only Son, as His gift to us. His mother was a young virgin... his earthly father was a poor carpenter... he was born in a stable. Not a very pretty package, is it? But do you know what? It was the greatest gift the world has ever known. It was the gift of salvation and it had your name on it... and yours... and yours... and mine!
The Bible tells us that when Mary found out that she had been chosen to be the one to deliver God's gift to the world, she was filled with joy. She sang a song glorifying God for choosing her.
"The Mighty One has done great things for me," she sang.
Well, the Mighty One has done great things for us too. He has sent us the gift of His love, but some people are so busy unwrapping the beautifully wrapped packages that this world offers that they have missed out on the greatest gift. Maybe it is because it came wrapped in brown paper tied up with string.
Dear Father, we are thankful that you loved us so much that you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Amen.
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