How To Get What You Really Want
I have something I want to say to children and something I want to say to parents. First children. Tomorrow is Christmas Day and when you open your presents this is what is going to happen. Some of you will get exactly what you wanted. Some of you will not. It may be that your parents tried hard but the store did not have it. It may be that your parents did not quite understand what you were hoping for and got you something very nice but not the exact thing you wanted.( If you ask them I bet they can remember something like that happening to them when they were children.) It may be that it just cost too much and was beyond their ability to get and still take care of all the other needs of the family. If you don't get exactly what you want I don't blame you a bit for being disappointed.
Here is something to think about. God is the maker of the human heart and He has made our hearts in such a way that parents naturally want to give their children good things, things that make them truly and deeply happy, even if it costs a lot, even if it is a sacrifice. Christmastime is a time when they are acting out by giving Christmas presents what they are trying to do all the time, which is show their love to you in such a way as to give you true happiness, even when it costs a lot. You know that things can cost a lot and not even involve money.
As with presents, so in loving their children, parents don't always get it right. So many things can interfere. There is misunderstanding and miscommunication and the hurts we get from other people and places that make it hard for parents to show their children the love they have for them. Not being able to love each other in the way we want and the way we should and in the ways that bring true and deep happiness to the human heart is what the Bible calls sin. Sin is a problem for everybody, for adults and for children. God the Father who has made our hearts to love Him and to love each other sees how we struggle with sin and has given us the gift of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, to save us from our sins and help us love each other in the right way, the way that leads to true and deep human happiness. The Father has done this even though it cost a lot, even though it was a sacrifice. The gift of Jesus cost so much it is the most precious gift the world has ever received.
Your parents know that they don't always get it right on Christmas day or any other day. That is why they bring you here to this church. So, by the help that God gives us by the costly gift of His Son we can get right with each other, parents and children, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors and so all of God's children can get right with their Father in heaven who wants our happiness, true and deep human happiness, now and forever.
Now a word for parents. You are hoping on Christmas day that you have got it right and have gotten your children the things that will bring them happiness and will show them that you care for them with all your heart. You are hoping that your children will show you love in return. They want to do just that. God has made their hearts to do just that. They find it just as hard as you do to get it exactly right both on Christmas day and on every other day.
You are doing the right thing by bringing them here to this church so they can receive the gift of the saviour, helper and redeemer, who puts us right with each other and with our Father in heaven. If they do not already know it, they will come to know that this is the best present you ever gave them. Because they truly do love you, it will give your children great joy to know that in giving them this present, you, yourselves, have received the true and deep human happiness that the Father wants to give all His children now and forever.
Let each one of us tonight as we come for communion, whether we are very young or very old or somewhere in between understand that when we reach out our hands for the bread and the wine that the Father is giving us, in, with and through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit both what we most want to receive and what we most want to give. May this costly and precious gift do its work in us. Amen.