Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night Before Xmas, Scene 8: Opening the Gift

“So, children, I have done what I came here to do. I have given you the gift of Christmas. You now know why we celebrate this holiday. I have given you the gift. Now, you must receive it.”

“What do you mean,” asked Lori.

“What do you do with your presents on Christmas morning?”

Becky answered. “We open them.”

“Becky doesn’t wait until Christmas,” chimed in Stevie. Becky shot him a quick glare.

Lori held up a hand. “I thought we weren’t going to fight.”

They both hung their heads and said, “Sorry.”

“It’s okay, children. When you believe, God can help you break your bad habits. But first, you must open the gift that I have given you. A gift really isn’t yours until you open it, is it? Jesus has given you the gift of forgiveness, the gift of salvation, of friendship with God. He is calling you to believe. Do not be like so many people who never open the gift that God offers. It is life’s greatest tragedy, that so many refuse to even open the greatest gift that has ever been given.”

“How do we open the gift?” asked Becky, eyes wide. The idea of not opening a gift like this horrified her.

“Sir,” Lori added. “I want what God has given me. I want to receive it. I don’t know how, but I know that I need it.”

“Yes, Lori, you do. Every person does. The Bible tells us that we must believe in Jesus.”

“That’s pretty easy,” Stevie observed.

“Maybe less than you think, Stevie. I am not just talking about memorizing some facts or having a few ideas in your mind. I am talking about faith, about trusting your life to Jesus Christ. When you believe in Jesus, you admit that you can’t earn God’s favor on your own and you trust Jesus for everything. You turn away from the life you have without Jesus and repent of your sin. Then, you trust Jesus Christ to be your Savior and yield to him as the Lord of your life. When you do that, Jesus comes into your life, forgives you and gives you a new life.”

“That’s what I want,” Lori affirmed. “I believe in Jesus and I want that gift. I know my heart is sinful and I am sorry. I trust Jesus and give my life to him.”

“Me, too. I want to be friends with God.” Becky’s faith was simple; childlike.

“I want the gift too,” said Stevie. Then, with a smile, he added, “I think I’m going to miss picking on Becky.”

“Jesus will fill your life with so much that perhaps you won’t even notice it. Children, there are no magic words you can say to receive God’s forgiveness. But if you are ready to turn from sin and trust Jesus, why don’t you just pray and tell God what is in your heart.”

They were silent for a minute or so. Becky looked up at him first and smiled. Stevie followed soon after. Then, with tears running down her face, Lori raised her eyes, a new joy radiating from her face. Their visitor stood up and looked at each of them in turn. “Children, it is time for me to go.”

“No!” they said in unison. Lori continued, “You need to stay and tell our parents about this. They should be home soon, and they need to hear this story.”

“I’m afraid that is not possible, Lori. I was sent here to tell you the story of Jesus. Your parents would not be able to receive this story from me. It just wouldn’t work.”

“But they need to hear about Jesus,” said Becky.

“Then you tell them. They will listen to you – maybe not at first, but they will listen. When they see the new life you have in Christ, they will listen. When the Holy Spirit draws them, they will listen. You must tell them.” The children nodded. “In fact, children, tell everyone you know the story of the birth of Jesus, his perfect life, his death for your sins, his resurrection, and his offer of salvation to all who believe. The time has come, children. I must go. I love you and pray God’s best for each of you.” The children hugged him and walked him to the back door. He hobbled down the driveway and into the night.

The children sat in silence. Finally, Lori spoke. “We never asked him his name.”

“I think he was an angel,” Becky suggested.

“He was too ugly to be an angel,” argued Stevie.

“Maybe he was in disguise.”

They sat for a few moments of silence. Lori stood and looked out at the street in the direction their visitor had disappeared. “I don’t care who he was or where he went. I am just glad he came. Tonight, I received the greatest gift I have ever been given. I don’t think my life will ever be the same.” They heard a car in the driveway. “There’s mom and dad. Let’s go tell them what happened.”

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

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