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Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Gifts

"To impress the point, I asked, how many of you are grandparents? The entire room raised their hands. Okay, what would you say if I told you not to give gifts to your grandchildren? Their first Christmas: no gifts. Their first birthday: no gifts. In fact, I don't want you to give them any gifts until they reach the age where they can ask for gifts and truly appreciate them"
[Bryan Wolfmueller "Has American Christianity Failed?" 133].

As Christmas is near, it is time to reflect upon the gifts! And thus, as we celebrate the gift of Christ, it is a reminder that our faith clings to the gift that is given. The keyword is "given" for this is the nature of any gift. Pastor Wolfmueller emphasizes the importance of gifts in regards to how God works in Holy Baptism.

Therefore, for infants and beyond [Mt19:14], Holy Baptism works the same forgiveness won by Jesus in His death and resurrection. This is our precious gift. It is not about a certain age or a time where we are able to appreciate the gifts but rather as sinners, it is all about the gifts given from above. In this season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, it is one of great thankfulness as we rest upon our Lord and His gifts to us.


Without His gracious giving of the Word made flesh, where would we be?

Without our Lord's mercy and compassion as He died upon the Cross, where would we be?

Without His conquering work in the resurrection, where would we be?

Without the gift of Holy Baptism, where would we be?

Without the gift the Lord's Supper, where would we be?

Terror and despair would be the saddening story of our lives. However, thanks be to God for the gift of the Gospel. Thanks be to God for His death and resurrection. Thanks be to God for the Water and Word, and the True body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Gifts! Gifts! Gifts! This season I pray that as you are going down the list of all the gifts that need to be purchased, remember the gift that purchased you.

"I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.
[Luther's Small Catechism, Explanation of the Apostle Creed Art II]

Have a blessed December!

✝️ Pastor Jeong

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