The Perfect Gift: Love – Home Delivery Available

Ahhh, this year, THIS Year, your Christmas shopping can be a lot easier. See, you don’t have to go out and find the perfect gift. And wrap it. And take it to Grandma’s or wherever. Nope. ‘Turns out, this is even better than the internet. The perfect gift is already selected. It’s wrapping is the loveliest. AND HOME DELIVERY IS AVAILABLE! Just ask Mary, or Joseph, perhaps, or the Prophet, or the shepherds. But if you find that too hard, too distant, too remote for you, come nearer home. Come with me out to Western Maryland just a little while ago. Listen. And watch.

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the town,

Every creature was combing the streets up and down.

For the church was reporting a theft off the lawn.

From the manger, it’s infant, baby Jesus was gone!

 

It was true! We were childless, with just days to go.

And where Jesus was lodging no soul seemed to know.

There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth,

Folks said, “Absent this child, who needs lights… or a wreath?”

 

‘Come 6 Christmas Eve came the year’s live Nativity.

The church all abuzz with expected activity.

When someone came running with news newly learned

Strangely, but surely, the child had returned!

 

It was wrapped as it left us, in blanket and cloth,

No harm, it appeared, not from robber or moth.

Only one thing was added, just tucked in its coat.

Jesus-returned came back with a note.

 

Now, here’s where the cute poetry just has to end

And poignancy takes up the message to send.

The note: “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to take your Jesus. I just wanted a dolly for my girl. What I needed was right on your grass. A long time, I don’t have a job or money. I am ashamed. I pray, but why would God or Jesus come to me?  Last night, the Captain [Salvation Army] came. With presents. There’s a dolly! Now we can both have our Jesus back. This year he came to my house. A stranger brought him. Love did it. It must be Christmas!

I am sorry. But thank you.

All true. But truer and better, Christmas’ perfect gift has always come by home delivery. Love in an infant. Love in the flesh. Do look to Mary. A simple girl, likely in her early teens. She lives in a village where hardly any real jobs are, as we think of them today. For that, you have to walk 4 miles or so to Sepphoris. Over there’s where things are happening. Jews and Greeks. Commerce, trade, money, culture, excitement. Important people live there, certainly not in Nazareth. And not girls. And not 13! The whole place sorta reminds me of that dolly-less household in that W. Md. town. But get this!  Nazareth is where angels come to call. “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” In this is the 1st miracle for Mary and for us. God notices. Notices her. Us! Unremarkable to the world’s eye. Undistinguished. Even lowly. And still God chooses our like as vessels for God’s purposes and pleasure. Mary’s a little spooked. Who wouldn’t be?! The angel says to her, "Don’t be afraid, Mary.” You know, maybe that’s the 2nd Christmas present, ever. 1st, God notices. Next: don’t be afraid!  “The power of the most high will overshadow you!” The message is not just for Mary. Nor only for the announcement that God is conceiving something new… with our help! That unemployed Jesus thief years ago feared to be giftless, feared to be hopeless. ‘Feared to be directionless. And yet, in the quiet love of a stranger, experienced a new birth. A second-coming, if you will. If you’re afraid, for yourself, maybe for your child, maybe for your work or health or for someone you love, that old angel still bears the same promise, the Spirit that overshadows. And the promise, “With God nothing will be impossible.” God still gifts us, as Mary, with home delivery of the perfect gift of love.        A son, his name: Jesus. He will be great, Son of the Most High, reigning over the household to whom he’s promised. And of his kingdom there will be no end.” Here’s the perfect gift, indeed!

This year he came to my house. A stranger brought him. Love did it. It must be Christmas! The shepherds can tell us. They do every year. Generally, shepherds are no-accounts. Once in a while, we all know the feeling. These herders tend the flocks to be used as the sacrificial lambs up at the great Temple at Jerusalem. Their charges are literally born to die for the sins of the people. Imagine that.  For shepherds and sheep alike, their only real home is in the unmarked hills of Bethlehem. So once again a home delivery is in order. Cue the Christmas angel(s). “Love come down at Christmas, love all lovely, love divine… hear the angels give the sign.” (Alt.) don’t miss this. These angels announce on the open air. From the highest heaven. How come everybody else in town doesn’t get the word? (Wouldn’t that be a little like swimming in the unchlorinated section of the pool?) It seems, this is a home delivery! ‘Specific to the ear and heart of those who expect birth to bring sacrifice, a certain giving everything for the sake of sinners all. It’s what the sheep do. ‘What Jesus will do. It’s not the kind of message you can just put out on the airwaves. O, I know, we try to every year. Earlier and earlier it seems. Christmas carols, Christmas ads, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards and shows.  But from the first, something very different is required to receive the gift, the perfect gift of Christmas: the love of God in Jesus Christ. The shepherds go with haste, find Mary and Joseph, and the babe in a manger. And then they make known the saying told them concerning this child! They make house calls! They tell everybody! All who hear wonder at what the shepherds tell. And glory finds a voice and praise a song for the ages.  It’s like, this year the Infant Savior came to my house. A stranger brought him. Love did it. It must be Christmas!

O, what a relief. The perfect gift is already selected. It’s wrapping is the loveliest, and most unexpected. AND HOME DELIVERY IS AVAILABLE… to you and to me! And we have a Christmas calling to be deliverers ourselves. Person to person, house to house. No one needs to steal our Jesus. He is ours, not just to receive, but to give away. May this be the year YOU and I deliver Him… at some unexpecting door… to some unsuspecting heart!

 

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