|Theme:||Joy is found in sharing - Third Sunday of Advent (C3)|
|Object:||A wrapped Christmas gift|
|Scripture:||"What should we do then?" the crowd asked. John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." Luke 3:10-11|
Look at this beautiful Christmas gift -- there are already a lot of gifts under the tree at our house. Are there a lot of gifts under your tree? Have you looked to see how many of the gifts have your name on them?
I heard about a little boy who checked the presents under the tree every day. As he checked to see if any new presents had been added, he grouped the presents together according to the names on the gifts. Then, after he had them arranged, he counted the gifts.
One day, he discovered that his sister had more gifts under the tree than he did. He became very upset and ran into the kitchen where his mother was preparing dinner.
"Katie has more presents under the Christmas tree than I do!" the little boy cried. Then he turned and ran from the room. He went to his room, closed the door, and sat pouting. He couldn't even enjoy the Christmas season because he was so upset that someone else had more gifts under the tree than he did. What that this little boy did not understand was that the real joy of Christmas is not in how many gifts we receive, but in sharing what we have with others.
John the Baptist was sent to prepare people for the coming of Jesus. He told them to repent of their sins and prepare their hearts for the coming of the promised Messiah.
"What should we do?" they asked.
John answered them, "If you have two coats, give one of them to the one who has none. If you have food, share it with those who have none."
That is the same message we need to hear today as we look forward to Christmas. If we want to experience the real joy that Jesus wants for us, then we must learn to share! By sharing what God has so generously given to us, we will receive an even greater gift -- the gift of joy.
Today we light the third candle on our Advent wreath -- the candle of joy.
Dear Father, help us to learn that it is in giving that we receive the greater gift -- the gift of joy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.