December 22, 2011
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17
You know the song: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree."
After that first verse things get a little bit cloudy for me. Sure, I remember to put the golden rings on day five, but I'm confused about the placement of the things that follow. Which goes first: the lords-a-leaping or the ladies milking?
Understand, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about that song. Not near as much as the folks at Pittsburgh Bank PNC. Their experts have calculated it would cost your true love $24,263.18 to give you all the things on that song's rather strange Christmas list.
They also have figured that price is an increase of $823.80 over last year. And, in case you're wondering, the cheapest gift on the list is the $15 partridge in a pear tree, and the most expensive is the $6,300 seven swans-a-swimming. As far as the aforementioned golden rings, they actually dropped by .8 percent.
So, those are the facts. But they are not all the facts.
If you really want to know all the facts, if you really want to know what the Person who loves you most has given to you, you're going to have to take a journey in time and location.
The time is a little over 2,000 years ago; the place is Bethlehem.
There, in an animal's feeding trough you can see God's Son wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is the Gift. Yes, He looks like a human baby because that is exactly what He is. But He is more, far more, than any other human child.
He is your Redeemer.
Look and see what God's love for you has done. As an adult, walk with Him and see how He taught as no other man has ever taught; see how His word had the ability to heal men's bodies and bring peace to troubled hearts.
Look and see what God's love for you has done. Stay awake with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and stand in awe of a heart that was willing to take the guilt of all your sins unto Himself. Travel with Him to His trials, and watch how He refused to defend or release Himself. Watch at the cross as love endured pain unlike anything this world has seen before or since.
Travel with His friends to His tomb and see how His lifeless body is quickly buried. Then, before dawn, three days later, go to the tomb and see Him rise.
Look at all these things, and you will see what God's true love has given to you.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for loving me when I was unlovable, I give thanks. May I be truly grateful for Your great gift of grace. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries