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“All Good Gifts”

January 4, 2015

Celebration of Communion

“All Good Gifts” (including Children’s Sermon)

 

Jeremiah 31:7-14 (Opening Scripture)

Psalm 147:12-20 (CtW)

Ephesians 1:3-14 (Sermon Text)

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas

 

Welcome to the 10th day of the 12 days of Christmas!!  These 12 days begin on Dec. 26th and go through Jan 5th, which is the day before Epiphany.

 

Along the way a song was written about these days.  And some suggest that the song was written to teach children about the Christian faith, that it was written as a catechism.  Whether that’s true or not, it works! 

 

First let’s sing the whole thing and then we’ll make our way through each of these days!  SING!  (Then have kids come back to the front – see following)

 

It would be helpful if our sign holders would come on down and when I talk about your day, you could hold our sign up one more time.  Then you can return to your seat.

 

On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . .


A Partridge in a Pear Tree


The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

 

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Two Turtle Doves

The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

 

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Three French Hens

The Three Theological Virtues:  1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

 

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Four Calling Birds

The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

 

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Five Gold Rings

The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:  1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

 

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Six Geese A-laying

The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

 

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Seven Swans A-swimming

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) Apostleship, 2) prophecy, 3) evangelism, 4) shepherd/pastor, 5) teaching, 6) giving, and 7) exhortation (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)  These are just some of the gifts listed in Romans and Corinthians and Ephesians.  There are others.

 

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Eight Maids A-milking

The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

 

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Nine Ladies Dancing


The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

 

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Ten Lords A-leaping

The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

 

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Eleven Pipers Piping


The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James.  (Luke 6:14-16).  The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

 

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Twelve Drummers Drumming

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' CreedIf you’re able, would you stand and we will say it while we count it out, so go slow!  And I will need our picture holder to lend us some fingers to count 11 and 12!  1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.  You may be seated.

 

Those are all great gifts to be reminded of in that song, but the gifts God gives reach even beyond all of those!  Let’s turn to Ephesians 1:3-14 and read of some more.  READ.  Here’s a recap of what we have received:

  • Every spiritual blessing in Christ
  • Chosen by Christ to be holy and blameless
  • Predestined to be adopted as God’s children
  • Redemption and forgiveness
  • God’s grace lavished on us
  • Revelation of God’s will that all things shall be under the authority of Christ
  • Included in Christ
  • Received the Holy Spirit

 

I’m not taking any of those back to the store for an exchange!  What more could we possibly want in Christ?  And yet each of the things I’ve listed can be unopened and we would discover so much more!

 

Before us at this table is a reminder of these gifts that come to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.  His body broken.  His blood shed so that we might have life and have it abundantly.  Not because we have earned it or deserved it, but because God desired to give Christ to us for our salvation.

 

What gift will you be thankful for this morning as you partake in this meal?  Will your heart rejoice over your salvation?  Will you be humbled by the immensity of God’s grace covering all of your sins?  Will you give thanks for being included in Christ?  As we come to the table, I would invite you to think on these things.  What transforming gift of God are you thankful for today?

 

Let us come to the table.