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Here's a thought for Dec. 16

December 16, 2011
By the Rev. Wesley J. Johnson , Marshall Independent

Wesley United Methodist Church

'The Greatest Gift'

Enchanting! That is what it is. Simply enchanting. There is something magical, no, unearthly about it. It holds a mystery and excitement all its own. Children feel it's almost magical nature. They can hardly contain their excitement and anticipation. There is something that transcends all other holidays of the year. It is a time of trees and ornaments, lights and candles, wreaths and mistletoe, carols and cold nights, cards and gifts, snow and snowmen, reindeer and Santa Claus, church programs and TV specials. There is a unique mystique about Christmas that often seems unexplainable. It is like a magnet pulling one further and further into a fairy tale. It is simply enchanting.

We search for the origin of this enchanting spell. What places this holiday on a different level than all the others? Is it the traditions? Is it the gifts? What is it that makes Christmas almost magical in the eyes of children and endearing to adults? We search for the enchanting spell. We search back many, many years to a day when Kings ruled kingdoms and Christmas trees, Yule logs, and St. Nicholas had never been heard of. We search back to the heart and soul of the universe, to the heart and soul of the divine. We see a woman called Mary and a man called Joseph. We see the very soul, the character and nature of the creator of the universe. We hear the promises of joy and peace from the prophets. We know that here in this little, insignificant village, in the most unlikely spot, an animal barn, the history of the world was changed and the heart of God was clearly revealed.

It was the greatest gift ever given. It was a gift of love, a gift of care. It was not a gift bought and wrapped in a store. It was not a gift asked for by many. It is not a gift we can throw in a wastebasket or put in a dark closet. It is not a gift we can take off the shelf, use, and then put away. It is God's gift. It is of divine origin. It is the gift of God's own self. The scripture goes, "and they shall call him Immanuel, which means God with us." This is not a gift to admire but one to receive. It is not a gift mailed, but one given in person. It is the gift of God's presence. This is the mystery, the mystique, the enchantment. God became human so that we could be godly. God hasn't just sent us directions, but came in person to lead us home It is legends like this of which fairy tales are built. But this is no fairy tale. It is the Greatest Gift.



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