Sermon for Christmas Eve 2017: “A Gift From Our Dad”

Luke 2:1-20

I had an interesting experience with my son, Paul, a few months back.
We were at Wrightsville Beach park and Paul had climbed up one of the jungle gyms.
All the way to the top.
And then he just stayed there.
So I waited.

About a minute after he climbed up, he asked me a question: “How did I get up here, daddy?”
I gave him a six word answer:
“Because you climbed up there, son”

About ten seconds later:
“How did I get up here, daddy?”
“Because you climbed up there, son”

About ten seconds after that
“How did I get up here, daddy?”
“Because you climbed up there, son”

This went on for about ten minutes.
All in all, Paul was up there for a good 30 minutes asking the same question and getting the same answer.
And it was at that moment, in that experience, that I knew what I wanted to tell you tonight.
Tonight we come together to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now while we celebrate with songs and prayers and sacrament,
There is a nagging question that we sometimes ask ourselves,
And it’s the same question those who are non-believers or those struggling with faith have asked for a long time:
It’s the kind of question that we often get stuck on
Like being stuck on a jungle gym:
The question is:
“Why did God send Jesus?”
For many years I have tried to answer that question.
For a long time, I would try to answer like a theologian using big words and big concepts.
A theologian like Martin Luther or C.S. Lewis,
But let’s be real, look at me, “theologian” is not exactly the first word you would use to describe me.
So I would try to answer like a pastor, with references from the Bible
But I would fail in trying to answer that simple yet HARD question:

“Why did God send Jesus?”
It took me that day at the jungle gym before I realized where I went wrong.
Instead of a theologian, or a pastor,
There was another way, THE way to answer that question.
And that way was to think like a dad.

In all my years on this planet,
I have known and experienced love.
I have experienced it as a child with loving parents.
As a brother with loving sisters.
As a friend.
As a boyfriend, fiancée, and husband.

But over the past 4 years, I have experienced a different kind of love.
That as a parent to two children.
I have never known love like this.

And by that, I mean…
It is a love that makes me want to say “Yes” to everything my children do.
And it is that kind of love that opened my eyes to how I see God,
And it opened my heart as to how to feel for God
And it opened my mouth on how to answer that question:
“Why did God send Jesus?”
It’s a six word answer:
“For God so loved the world”
Well, why did he love this world?
Because God is a parent.
He is Our parent.
The story of God and his children throughout the Bible is one filled with heartache and disappointment.
It is a story of a God who wants one thing, and one thing only.
A relationship based on love and trust with his children.
But no matter how hard God tried, how many times God called for his children to come back to him,
The children would run back to God BUT then run away from God.
But God was not going to be denied.
He was going to make things right.
Once and for all.
And to set things right
Rather than giving up…
God just gave.
He gave us Jesus.
In Jesus, we have God our Father’s ultimate “Yes”

Yes- we are loved
Yes- we are forgiven
Yes- we do have a place in the kingdom
Yes- we can make a difference
Yes- there is hope
Yes- there is someone who loves you and will love you forever!
Yes- we are His children

And as our Father, God cannot say “no” when it comes to us.

To me that sounds like the best present we could ever ask for.

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