"Whoever Gets the Son"

John 1:1-18

There once was a well-known and very successful art collector, who had a knack for finding undiscovered artists. He loved what he did, and his vast fortune enabled him to travel all over the world looking for fine pieces of art. He had a son, who was the joy of his life. Not only was the object of his love, but all the love of his deceased wife dwelled in him as well. So it was a special joy to him that his son shared his passion, and that the boy became even better than he at finding good pieces of art.

But the world is a dangerous place, and war broke out. The son, wishing to do his duty, one day came to the father and told him that he had to go off and defend his country. The old man was afraid, but gave him his blessing and, after a tearful goodbye, the young man left.

The old mans worst fears were soon realized. A message came from the front his son had been killed in action, while trying to save the life of a fallen comrade. The old man was crushed. Even all of the beautiful artwork that they had collected together could not bring him joy, but only reminded him of the son that he had lost.

Then, on Christmas Eve, there was a knock on the door. A young man stood there in army uniform, with a package under his arm. He introduced himself and asked if he could have a moment of the old mans time. The old man invited him in, noticing that he walked with a limp. The young man pointed at his leg I got this during the war," he said. "I was the man that your son saved, at the cost of his own life." Then he related other acts of heroism and sacrifice that the young man had made. Finally, he pulled out the package and unwrapped it. Your son used to tell me about how the two of you went all over the world collecting works of art. Im just an amateur, but Id like to give you this painting I did." The old man looked at it it was a painting of his son. Not very good as art, but certainly recognizable. And it seemed somehow to capture him. And obviously was a work of love. He thanked the young man and promised him that it would have a place of honor in his home.

He kept his word. He placed it in his living room, right above the fireplace, where he could see it always. And the more he studied it, the more he loved it. Sometimes he would even talk to it, as if he was talking to his own son.

The old man died. Having no relatives, the wonderful collection of art was to be auctioned off on Christmas Eve. Dealers from around the world came to bid on his fine collection. The hall was packed. Anticipation was high. The auctioneer entered, and brought his gavel down. "The auction is open. Bring in the first piece." It was brought in and unveiled. It was the picture of the son. There was a moment of silence. Then some laughter. "What? What is this? This is nothing! Where is the collection?" The auctioneer explained: "According to the stipulations of the will, this piece must be the first piece to be auctioned off." There was nervous silence in the hall. No one would bid on it.

Finally a man stood up in the back of the room. "Excuse me," he said. "I really didnt come here to bid. I was a friend of the old man and the boy, and I know how much that painting meant to him. I only have ten dollars, but if thats o.k., Id like to have that painting.

"Ten dollars!" the auctioneer said. "Going once! Going twice! Sold!"

Then he brought his gavel down again. "The auction is over!" "What? What do you mean, its over? What about the rest of the collection? What about the rest of the estate?" the dealers cried out with one voice.

The auctioneer looked the crowd over. "There was one more stipulation in the will. It says, whoever gets the son, gets it all."

"Whoever gets the Son, gets it all." I would like to share with you that that is the message of Christmas. "For God so loved the world, that He sent His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life." This tiny infant, now cooing in the cradle, holds in His hands all of eternity. In Him rests the fate of every man and woman, of every nation. In love, God sent Him to us, allowed Him to be crucified, to die for us. But that was not the end. He also lives for us - He lives in us - in our hearts, in the faces of every person we meet this holiday season.

Only faith sees that. Only faith can recognize that. And that, too, is the gift this child gives us. In Him, we see God's presence in every person. In Him, we find hope for this worn and bedraggled world. In Him, we come to know the loving face and hands of our Father. All in this little child. He is our peace, our hope our joy. "Whoever has the Son, has it all."

May you hold this babe, the child of Bethlehem, in your heart; may He give you eyes to see Him everywhere around you; and may He be your peace, your hope, your joy this holiday season. Amen.