Wednesday, December 24

The Ultimate Gift

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes, the Messiah the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" (Luke 2:9-11)

There was a movie that came out a few years ago… Jingle All the Way… It’s about two men, who neglected their sons all year in the name of “working hard, providing for their family”… and they try to make it up in one day: they attempt, on Christmas Eve, to get for their sons the very hard-to-come-by Turbo Man action figure! But in their attempt to set things right, they find out all the stores are sold out… and there’s only one left in the entire city. So, the two dads, Howie (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Myron (played by comedian, Sinbad) go on a comical quest to claim the toy, and end up trying to outdo the other in their attempt to provide for their sons the ultimate gift: TURBO MAN!

The movie isn’t very realistic, but there is a real story about Christmas and the Ultimate Gift: the real ultimate gift is not Turbo Man, not something that can be purchased from a store… the Ultimate Gift is Jesus… the Savior of the world. Listen again to what the angels said: “I bring you Good News that will bring great joy to all people.”

The most famous verse in the Bible says, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). Now, for many of us, we think God is all about rules and rituals… but He’s really about relationship. Many people stay away from church and from reading the Bible because they think God wants to make them feel guilty. But the angel announced that he was bringing good news… not condemnation, not judgment, not more rules to follow, not a set of rituals to perform… but GOOD news. What is this “good news”? The good news is that God has sent us a SAVIOR! “Why?” Because we needed saving. “Saving from what??” From our sinful behavior! “You are to name him Jesus [which means, "God is our salvation"], because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

Now, you may say, “Yeah, but sin is kinda fun!” And you’re right… it can be fun… but not fun forever. In fact, the pleasure of sin gets old after awhile… because the more we intentionally sin, the more we intentionally sin! In other words, the more we intentionally turn from what’s right, the more we want to keep heading in that direction. And it’s not so much because sin is fun, but it’s because that’s what sin does… it desires to control us. And it is from the debilitating, destructive forces of sin that God wants to rescue us! That is good news that brings great joy: It’s not a negative message… it’s a positive one.

And listen to what the angel said, “I bring YOU good news…” Not only did God give us a positive message, but a personal one: Why did Jesus come to save us? Simply, because He loves us! Is that awesome or what?? The One who came to liberate us also loves us! The Rescuer wants a relationship with us!! God loves you so much that He came to earth as a human so you could get to know Him personally and learn to trust Him and love Him in return. And if there’s a reason to celebrate during this holiday season, that’s the reason! Sure, it’s a great time for family and friends to get together… but the real reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus came to rescue us... because He loves us.

Good news… great joy… for ALL PEOPLE. This good news is for EVERYBODY! Everybody’s invited: no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve been or where you’re going… the good news is for YOU!! Not for the spiritually elite… FOR YOU!! Not for those who have it all together… it’s for wayward, messed up, broken, sinful people like you… and like me. Jesus came to rescue us… because He loves us.

Well, you say, “I don’t need to be rescued… I don’t feel like I’m in danger.” Most people don’t… until they’re staring danger in the face. You’re driving along in your car, listening to your music, and from out of nowhere comes a car through a red light. You’re like a deer in headlights… “I’m in danger…HELLLPP!” Well, you were in danger before you saw the car, you just didn’t realize it. We usually don’t realize we’re in danger until we’re looking danger right in the eyes. Scary movies give a great picture of this: there’s an ax murderer, and an innocent soon-to-be-victim… in a cabin in the dark woods… all alone. She hears a sound outside, and she goes out to check out the sound. Now, WE KNOW she’s in danger, because we hear the scary music… but she doesn’t know. She calls out, “John? Is that you? Where are you?” Then she turns around, and screams, “Yaaaaaaah!!” Because it’s definitely not John…

Now, she was in danger LONG BEFORE she realized it, wasn’t she? But she didn’t know she was in danger until she was staring danger right in the face! If you don’t have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus, you’re in danger… but the good news is, Jesus came to rescue you… because He loves you.

And once rescued... you're safe forever! How awesome is that?? His gift to us is the priceless gift of eternal life... it's free, it's for the asking, and it's available today. If you'd like to learn more about how to receive this free gift, CLICK HERE... and drop me a line - I'd love to hear from you!

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