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Christmas: whoever takes the Son gets it all

December 08, 2010 - A very wealthy man shared his passion for art collecting with his devoted young son. Together they traveled around the world, adding fine treasures to their collection.

But then the world went to war, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to safety.

On Christmas morning, a knock came at the door of the old man's home, and as he opened the door he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.

"I am the one your son was rescuing when he died," he said. "May I come in? I have something to show you."

The soldier entered saying, "I'm not much of an artist, but I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his son. Though the art critics would never consider the work a piece of genius, the painting captured the details of the son's appearance, and something of his personality. The portrait was added to the old man's treasured collection.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, as the family collection was to be auctioned.

The auction began with a painting that was not on anyone's wish list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked.

Minutes passed with not a sound from those who came to buy. From the back of the room someone callously called out, "Who cares? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the important paintings." But the auctioneer replied, "No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?"

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it. I will bid the $100." "I have a bid for $100," called the auctioneer. "Will anyone go higher?" After a long silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once. Going twice. Gone." The gavel fell.

Cheers filled the room and someone was heard to say, "Now we can get on with it!" But the auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over.

Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! We demand that you explain what's going on!"

The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son... gets it all."

That is the essence of the story of Christmas: Whoever takes the Son gets it all. The Bible puts it like this: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11:12).

We have lots of things on our wish lists treasures we think we'd like to own. But the only thing we need is the free gift God has made available to all who will receive Him: God's own Son, Jesus Christ. And when we receive him we get it all: every spiritual blessing, freedom, forgiveness, grace, wisdom, and understanding (Ephesians 1:3-14). Somehow, when we have Him, all the rest seems less important.

The Rev. LuAnn Rourke is pastor of Seymour Lake United Methodist Church.

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