Later in his career, the British actor, A.E. Matthews, found himself dealing with occasional forgetfulness. In a play in which he was cast, Matthews was in a scene in which he walked across a room, answered the phone and engaged in conversation, the content of which was crucial to the plot. When he picked up the phone, his mind went blank. He looked at the other actor on stage and said, “It’s for you.”
“It’s for you,” is not a request or a question. “It’s for you,” is a straightforward statement, which on the surface seems easy to understand. Many of my fondest memories are of Christmas’ past, when my family gathered around the Christmas tree to open presents. During those times our daughters had difficulty containing their enthusiasm. You see in our family we have a tradition of not marking the presents with the name of the intended recipient. Only the person who placed the gift under the tree knew whose present it was. Of course the bigger boxes and packages drew the most attention and few days would go by without Krista or Michelle asking, “Is the big one for me?”—–Well, OK, maybe it was me that kept asking that question. In any case, we knew there were no mistakes under the Christmas tree. Each of us knew for certain that each and every gift was intentionally chosen, purchased, wrapped and given in the spirit of love. We also knew that sooner or later, (joy of joys), someone would place a gift in front of us and say it’s for you.
A little over two thousand years ago the world anxiously awaited the gift of the Messiah. Like all children they could hardly contain their excitement. They knew of the prophecies, they knew the gift was on the way so they searched high and low hoping to find a gift wrapped Messiah with their name on him. Old Testament scriptures recorded that every once in a while they thought that they had found him. But as soon as the bows and wrappings came off, they were disappointed.
Then one night in the distant hills near Bethlehem, (Joy of Joys) the world heard the long awaited news. “Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” IT’S FOR YOU! Just as it has been prophesied by Isaiah, He will be called; Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. God has given us the perfect gift; one that never ages, never needs batteries, never disappoints, never goes out of style and best of all, you can take Him with you wherever you go.
So rejoice all you Heavenly Hosts. Rejoice you citizens of the realm of glory. Rejoice good Christian friends with heart and soul and voice; now we hear the endless bliss: News, News! Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heavens door, and you are blessed for evermore. Christ was born for this, Christ was born for this. (United Methodist Hymnal, page 224). I can think of no better way to begin our relationship than to share this Good News with you. God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to the babe in Bethlehem. Immanuel. Remember the promise of the angel? “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23). Immanuel. The name appears in Hebrew form as it did two thousand years ago. Immanu means “with us.” El refers to Elohim, or God. He came as the “with us God.” Not an “above us God,” or a “somewhere in the neighborhood God.” Not “God with the rich” or “God with the religious.” But God with us. All of us. All of us. Russians, Germans, Buddhist, Mormons, truck drivers, taxi drivers and librarians. (Max Lucado, From: Cure for the Common Life.)
May you have a blessed Advent Season and a Merry Christmas.
Oh, and please don’t forget to unwrap the most important gift of all. It’s the perfect gift and “It’s for you.”
Grace and Peace to you and to all those you love.
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