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The Indescribable Gift

One of the most common symbols of Christmas is presents. They are wrapped in bright shiny paper tied with a red bow. We count those with our names on them. We shake them to see what may be inside. Every year, some economist calculates the cost of the 12 gifts given on the twelve days of Christmas. This year with inflation and shipping problems in LA and Long Beach, the cost of the 12 gifts have gone up 5%!

When I was in Valley Forge, our annual staff Christmas activity included a white elephant gift exchange. It’s supposed to be items that you believe might have a better home in someone else’s home. But one year, someone brought in a large holiday shopping bag with a surprise. It was a stuffed real bird with a mangled wing! No one dared to take it out of the bag. No one confessed to bringing it. And the one who ended up with it didn’t want it. But for some reason, it came back the next year! After it’s second coming, someone decided to take it and give it a proper burial. The faces on the people who got the gift were indescribable. The gift was indescribable.

In the 2 Corinthians 9:15 verse, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” speaks about the Apostle Paul encouraging the Corinthian Christians to be generous in their giving of donations to help the Christians in Jerusalem. Paul tells them to give willingly and when they give, they will also be abundantly blessed in return. God loves a cheerful giver. Furthermore, since the Jerusalem Christians were looking down at the Christians in Corinth, this would be an opportunity to show that God in Christ is with Gentiles too.

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In all of this, the main point Paul is making is that when we give, we give glory to God’s surpassing grace. We may give in this Christmas season to help those in need and those in need would be helped. But the real reason, the underlying reason, the true reason to give is because God first gave to us in the gift of Jesus Christ. And contrary to all of the gifts that we might give: money, things on our grandkids’ Santa lists, presents to the kids in Chinatown, Giving Tuesday, and so forth, the reason why we give is because of the indescribable gift of God becoming a baby in Bethlehem. To this day, this gift is inexpressible, indescribable, no language can praise enough, this gift, God’s gift.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Let us pray.

O Lord, on this day just a few days before Christmas Day, we remember the gift of your son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. In Christ, we have hope, love, joy and peace in our hearts and in this troubled world. Help us to be hopeful when solutions are hard to find. Help us to be loving when hate abounds. Help us to be joyful when we are sad. Help us to be peacemakers when the world is in conflict.

Thank you, Lord for the fellowship of the saints known as the Sojourners. May we continue to share your glory in the world because of the indescribable gift in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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