A gift that keeps on giving

December 24, 2007

Pastor Mark Little, Stockholm Lutheran Church, Cokato

A few weeks ago, we had the delight of enjoying the Sunday school Christmas program at Stockholm Lutheran Church.

The young people worked hard preparing for the program, and the adults worked hard helping the kids with rehearsals, costumes, music, etc. The program was filled with good speaking parts and great singing, and the message about the gift of Jesus came through loud and clear.

One of the songs the young ones sang for us was called, “The Gift Goes On.” Part of the chorus simply says, “And the gift goes on, and the gift goes on, and gift goes on, and on, and on.” As I listened closely to the words, I realized how unusual it is to receive a gift that keeps giving and giving.

Throughout the course of a year, our children receive toys for Christmas or birthdays. Too many of these gifts last for a short time only. They may work wonderfully for a while, but it’s not long before something breaks or quits working, and the toy is banished to the box of unused toys in the basement, never to be thought of again.

There are many things in our lives that continue on and on and on. Some of them are good things – family, relationships, good times with friends. Other things continue on and on, and we wish they would “just go away” – things like bills, violence, medical troubles, sad memories, our sinful ways, etc.

In the midst of the challenges and sadness in life, we remember again God’s gift of a Savior who came to the world on a cold night so very long ago. He came in humble conditions, in a place where no one was there to receive him. Jesus was given to show perfect love to a broken world, and to set us free from our sin and from a world where there are too many sad, ugly, hurtful things taking place day after day.

The gift of Jesus comes to us with His very best, in the midst of the worst that the world can give. He comes to us and holds us with a strength and a love that continues “on and on and on.” The promise of His presence and love is there even when our sin continues to linger, and hang over us.

The gift of Jesus never breaks, never needs a replacement part, never needs new batteries, and has a warranty that never runs out! This amazing gift from God just keeps giving and giving and giving.

There is no large pile of crumpled wrapping paper and bows to clean up after the gift is given, and we continue to be blessed with new life and strength every day to move past our sin, and to share the gift with those around us.

This Christmas season, let us be sure to ponder the gift of Jesus – given long ago, but still giving today.

The children’s song says it well – “The gift goes on, and on, and on,” and all we can do is hold out our hand and receive the gift. The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, is God’s gift to us at Christmas. Let us rejoice and be glad!