Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
We have one more present to unwrap, only problem is that you cannot see it. What kind of a present is it that you cannot see? Contrary to opinion it is no imaginary present, it is very real. After all, you cannot see the wind, but you know it is real; so it is with our one remaining present.
And you can have this one remaining present or you can have this box right here, and Iíll bet youíd rather have the box, wouldnít you? The box looks promising, and surely it ought to be better than something which you cannot see, and still needs to be unwrapped.
And that my friends is exactly what happens each and every year, people choose the box, and the one remaining present remains unopened for another year. The box may have had good things, and we may have appreciated them for a while, and for a while they may have been the focus of our attention, but after a while, whatever it was is in the place where we put the stuff which is good, but just doesnít fit into our lives at the moment. It was a momentary pleasure, but thatís all. And each year, we know what that was for us.
But I want to return to the one unopened present, because even if you cannot see it, it is real, and it is important, it is worth opening, and worth exploring Ė and I will make you a promise, it will be new every day, it will never disappoint, and you will never become bored with it.
But more than all of this, this one unopened present hold the key to Christmas. Without it, no amount of presents, parties, decoration, or delights, no special events or surprises can really give us a truly blessed and merry Christmas. And that is why I wanted to talk about this with you tonight, for the time has come to open the one remaining present, and to explore its depth and riches.
For the one remaining present left to open is faith, and we cannot see it because it is in us, in our heart. Faith is not there because of what we have done, or because we were made that way, but God put it there, on purpose. God put faith into our hearts and into our lives because he knew we needed it. It is faith, that rejoices to here over and over again the Christmas story, about Godís son, born to be our Savior.
You see it is not just any baby in a manger, it is our savior, come to bring us the grace of God, and peace, the forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life. We cannot see these things either, and yet by faith we know they are present and real, and that we receive them through Word and Sacrament.
As we unwrap Godís gift of faith, we find that it teaches us about ourselves, and shows us how God is working to make us a new creation, changing us from poor miserable sinners into the children of God, and the saints of the most high. God is working in us to make us holy.
But not only that, there are the mercies of God, which can only be seen by faith, which are new every day, and which are all the things we need, even before we knew we needed them, this is all part of the grace of God, seen through the eyes of faith, which is always new.
One can spend an entire lifetime exploring faith, and still find new things each and every day. But it isnít just an individual thing, for the biggest surprises and the greatest joy occurs when we help others to open this gift of God, faith, which God would give to all people, and most have it waiting unopened. And it is only faith which helps us to see the Christ of Christmas and to fill not just one day, but all our lives, with peace and joy. Faith is the real secret of Christmas, for it tells us the rest of the story, and gives us hope knowing the depth of God love, and the extent of his great patience, that he would do all these things to brings us to life everlasting.