My dear American Friends:
"Why should we receive presents on Jesus' Birthday?" one of our children said, one time. "We ought to give Him presents instead." She continued. She was right. We should give Him presents, instead of receiving presents. I tried to explain to the child. "Worshiping God is one way to give Him presents. And loving Him by loving our 'neighbors as ourselves' is another. We should 'forgive our debtors' and 'follow His steps (1 Peter 2: 21)." We should spread the Gospel, the good news and 'give glory to God in the highest' (Luke 2: 14) etc., oh there are so many ways to give presents to Jesus. Perhaps the best gifts of all is to 'bring somebody to Christ." That will be the outline of my sermon to the children on Christmas and I am expecting more than a few strangers, with ribbons, in our Church doorstep and our children saying "THIS IS MY PRESENT TO JESUS."
Actually, I tried to spend last few Sundays explaining the cost of Christmas. People talk about Christmas getting too costly with the rising prices of the gifts etc. It is nothing compared with the cost Mary and Joseph paid like long journey to Bethlehem and then exile to Egypt. It cost parents in and around Bethlehem the massacre of their babies. It cost God the Father, the life of His only begotten Son and of course, it cost Jesus the crucifixion on the Cross. CHRISTMAS IS COSTLY! And it will cost even more, in fact, it will be a terrible tragedy if we do not receive His forgiveness and eternal life! I never forget the comment of one of our children when I tried to explain the meaning of the sacrifice on the Cross. He said, "I know what it means, my mother died giving me a birth!"
In fact, I am planning to preach my first sermon in the New year, something like "This is the day that so many people who died last year wanted to live (I hope that it makes sense)." or simply "THIS DAY IS GOD'S PRESENT FOR YOU!" Truly, another day is another present from God, isn't it? And if it starts with the Gospel, what a wonderful day it will be! Did I ever tell you how Korean Churches got started at first? One day, in the year of 1864, a missionary called Thomas came on an American merchant ship. The ship started to survey the area without permit, in spite of the frequent warning from the Korean government. Eventually, the ship was burnt and the foreigners were all murdered including the missionary. Just before he was killed by a sword, he offered a Gospel tract and said, "Read this, and it will save you." The killer didn't know what to do with the Gospel tract, so he used it for the wall-paper of his house. And the people who visited his house started to read it on the wall and started to be inspired by the scriptures. That's how the first Korean Church was started! Truly, the Gospel wall-paper was the greatest present from God! And it cost the life of a young missionary.
This may not be a good Christmas story nor a good New Year sermon, but it is always good to start a New year thinking about the sacrifice made so that we can have a Merry Christmas and New Year.
LOVE IS BLOODY AFFAIR. You can not say that you are loving unless you are prepared to say "I can die for you." The other day, I interviewed a young man who wanted to come to our University to become a servant of the Lord. I asked him why he wants to be a preacher and he told me a story. He said that he failed in everything he tried and finally decided to commit suicide. His mother found out and held unto his arms crying "You can not die. You are my life. I will die for you." and she actually was going to die. That's when he repented and decided to come to our University. It's because of a student like him that our University exists! God bless our Christian University!
One of our boys received a puzzle as a gift. It was a difficult puzzle and took him five hours to finish. He said, "there are many similar pieces, but every spaces has only one piece that fits, and nothing else will..." I said, "It's the same with our heart. There is a space in our heart that nothing else fit, except God's Love!" May God fill your space with His Love, in the MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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