The professional golfer Arnold Palmer once played a series of exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia. The king was so impressed that he intended to give Palmer a gift. Palmer at first humbly declined but when pressed he asked for a golf club. There was a mix up in the translation. Because the next morning, delivered to Arnold Palmer's hotel room were the title deeds to a golf club. Acres upon acres of land, with trees and lakes, a big clubhouse and so forth. Palmer later said that he had learned that in the presence of a king, neither ask for, nor expect, small gifts.

As we celebrate, once more, the birth of the Saviour King, Jesus Christ let me draw your attention to 2 Corinthians 9v.15; a short verse which says so much, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift."

What makes a gift indescribable? Is it it’s beauty? Is it the emotions and response which it evokes? Is it the unexpectedness of it being given? Is it its value? Is it its size? Is it the timeliness with which it is given? Is it the nature of the Giver that makes it so indescribable? All of the above and much, much more must be said about the gift of God to all mankind, in the form of His Son, our Lord Jesus.

At this time of year we do our best to contemplate the sheer wonder of Jesus Christ, the Word of God Incarnate. Musicians have composed some of their greatest music on this theme: Handel’s "Messiah," Bach’s "Christmas Oratorio," and then the beautiful hymns, "Joy to the World," "Silent Night” and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Poets & painters & sculptors have taken up the tools of their trade to pay tribute to Jesus, the gift of God’s love (and why do they do that: well, because words alone fail us!!) Caught up in a moment of heightened gratitude and deep praise, the Apostle Paul exclaimed, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

One of the remarkable features of God’s gift to us is the GRACE which it extends to us. In God’s eyes we are sinners – done what we shouldn’t / not done what we should…many of our words, thoughts and deeds offend Him because they are contrary to Holy nature – the consequence of this I that we are separated from God and are not fit for heaven. Yet such is God’s grace that He gives us His Son to provide a way for us to be forgiven, to be reconciled with our Maker and to be made fit for heaven. The way He has accomplished is through the babe in the manger becoming the man who died on the cross, bearing our sin and shame, so that if we place our faith in Him, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we will be forgiven…

We don’t deserve it; we haven’t earned it; we could never achieve it ourselves. It is all GRACE on God’s part. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift."

Let us all reach out and receive that gift that is Jesus Christ.

Happy Christmas

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