For those of us who have received God's greatest gift, His only begotten Son, Christmas has a very special meaning. It is a time to remember the sacrifice God made on our behalf, that we might receive eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 The true meaning of Christmas is that God loved this world enough to send his only begotten Son to redeem us. A few definitions of what it means to redeem according to Webster's dictionary: to buy back, to repurchase to release from blame or debt to free from captivity by payment of ransom Jesus Christ came to redeem us, to pay the debt for our sins and free us from captivity. Although most theologians would agree that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th, it is good to set aside a day that will remind us of what our LORD has done for us. Without him, where would any of us be? Which of us can look at our own children and not see the beauty, the purity and the love God has offered us? How marvelous it is that God has designed the family to give us a picture of how much we mean to him! To teach us what it is to be a parent by giving us the opportunity to become one! Even as we delight in lavishing our own children with love, God delights in the chance to show his great love towards us. This is a day to celebrate our relationship with Jesus Christ and with one another. Christmas is a time to celebrate our love for one another even as God has loved us. It is a time to forgive one another for past hurts, to start afresh and believe the best in one another. It is a time to hold our children, our grandchildren and loved ones close and realize how precious life truly is. How blessed we are to be able to share our love with one another, with our friends and be grateful for living in a country where we are free to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is also a time to remember those who are less fortunate. This past week I heard about a family who lives in our town and had taken a homeless family in to live with them. The family was already struggling to provide for their own children but reached out to help another family who was in dire need. A local church stepped up to bless those children and parents with gifts to put under their tree. The response was overwhelming. Together they were able to buy each child a wardrobe of clothing, many toys and food gifts. That church also sent a check to pay for their rent and help both families get back on their feet. By giving to those less fortunate they have received something far greater in return this morning. They have experienced the true meaning and beauty of Christmas. May God grant us all such an opportunity. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!