Did You Get Your Gift?

Did You Get Your Gift?

Featured in the December, 2006 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News

The innkeeper did not get his gift!

Caesar’s census had people pouring into Bethlehem making this the business opportunity of a lifetime! Every room must
be ready because the inn will be full. Straw for the animals, beds for the travelers, oil for the lamps–there is work to
do…and money to make.

Today’s businessman is no different. The motels will be full and the stores will be crowded. When cash is gone, buyers
will use plastic as sales reach delightful highs. This is the time to make money.

Bethlehem’s innkeeper and Chicago’s businessman – – each misses his Christmas gift. Neither notices the Savior or is aware
that “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Caesar Augustus was busy with affairs of state. What is more important than the government? A census must be made so taxes
can be collected. The bureaucracy must be maintained and all government workers paid. Economic security, full employment,
police to keep the peace, more public works to satisfy the citizens…all these are the important matters.

Caesar Augustus never received his Christmas gift nor did King Herod.

The Bethlehem housewife did not get her Christmas gift.

Relatives were coming from distant villages to be enrolled in Caesar’s census. They would expect good food and a warm
welcome. There was cooking to do, a house to clean, extra beds to make, and conversations with seldom seen family members
would go late into the night.

The relatives came, there were big meals, long talks, and all enjoyed the wonderful accommodations. But with the busyness
and weariness of it all the Bethlehem housewife never even noticed that the Savior had been born in her town. She never
realized the One who came to give eternal life had made His appearance. She did not receive her gift.

It is not much different today. Dinners, parties, friends dropping in, a house to decorate, meals to cook, children home
on vacation, friends coming from out of state. It was hectic, but somehow everyone was cared for but you never did get your gift.

The roads of Judea were lined with people who came to Bethlehem at Caesar’s command. But since the trip had to be made,
why not work in some extras…friends to see along the way, cousins to visit in Bethlehem and long time acquaintances needed
to meet. Traveling is exciting but exhausting. People came from all over Israel into Bethlehem but never noticed that Christ
came from Heaven to Bethlehem that wondrous night to be the Savior of sinners.

The Christmas tradition of traveling continues with planes overbooked, buses bulging and the interstate highways clogged with
traffic for the holidays. The car must be checked, the gas tank filled, maps consulted, reservations made, and yet most
never realize that “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The trip will be made, but will you get
your gift?

The Jewish priests at Jerusalem’s temple were busy- – there were prayers to say, psalms to chant, lambs to sacrifice. Most of
the priests and the people who came to worship were so taken up with the ritual they forgot that it pointed to the Redeemer that
was coming.

This Christmas, houses of worship will have seasonal decorations, great musical works will be performed, congregations will
gather for prayers and sermons but most will never find their way through the customs to see Christ who is the Savior of the world.

There will be plenty of religion, but without the experience of personal redemption from sin through Jesus. Many who go to
worship will fail to receive the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This year, will you be the one who gets through the traditions to the bedrock truth of Christmas? Will you be one who is able
to see through the customs and come to know Christ himself? Will you be able to find your way through the rituals of religion and
find your way to the Redeemer?

Again it is Christmas. Will you get your gift?