The King's Christmas List
The Rev. Jon Roberts
Grace Episcopal Church
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
The King's Christmas List, Eldon Johnson, 2010
The Children's Christmas Pageant Story
Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived with her family on the outskirts of town and an amazing thing happened to her. Her name was "Emma." Emma had rejoiced on the day her daddy finished her playhouse. He put so much time into building it and painting it for her, and the door leading into the playhouse led into a world she simply called, "The Kingdom." The amazing thing happened when she and her dog "Shu-Shu" were decorating the playhouse for Christmas. She was about to go through the door to the Kingdom, when then and there, she heard a voice behind her. She turned around and sure enough, the mailbox was glowing. She ran to it, and cautiously looked inside. What do you suppose was there, but a beautiful golden letter.
She tore it open and discovered it was an invitation to a party. It said, "To the honorable Lady Emma and the Gentile Dog Shu-Shu, you are hereby invited to the King's Birthday Party - His royal Christmas celebration! "The King has invited us to His birthday party", she exclaimed, "We need to give Him a present. But what do we give a King?" Looking around she said, "Let's go see what we can find in the playhouse." Inside she saw the special Christmas cake she made with her mom. "What about cake? It's special because we made it." Just then she heard another small voice announce, "A carriage sent from the King - for Lady Emma and the Gentile Dog Shu-Shu!" Amazed, she said, "Hurry, let's go." She put on her cape, tucked her favorite stuffed animal, "Cherry Bear" in her coat (she never went anywhere without Cherry-Bear), off to the carriage they went; just her and Shu-Shu.
When she climbed in, the horse began to trot down the road. The horse whinnied, "Hold on tight" and all of a sudden, a whole new kingdom appeared." The playhouse of another kingdom disappeared behind them. Now there were fields and fountains, moors, and mountains, following yonder, a star. There was beauty and brightness, westward leading, still proceeding. There, coming from a castle, was a perfect light. She began to get very excited, when suddenly they came to a halt. Trying to cross the road was an old woman with her arm around a young boy who was shivering in the cold. "Oh, please pardon us," said the woman. "My grandson is very cold. I am trying to find someplace where he will be warm."
Emma felt terrible seeing the boy shiver on this cold, winter day. She jumped out and said, "Please take my Christmas cape - It will keep your grandson warm." Emma looked at her beautiful cake, the one she wanted to give to the King, and said, "Please take this cake too. You both need something to eat." "We couldn't do that,” said the grandma. Emma nodded and smiled, "I insist." After the exchange, they both said together, "Thank you Emma", and off they went. Odd, she thought. How did they know my name?
The castle was nearing and there was only a bridge to cross. There, she heard the sound of someone crying. As they approached, Emma saw two parents with their daughter who was in tears. Looking down, the river ran swiftly. Emma came up to the girl, only a few years younger than she, and asked, "Why are you crying?" The little girl said, "I dropped my Teddy Bear into the river and now he's gone forever." "Oh no!" Emma put her arm around the girl. The little girl wore clothes that were old and torn. That bear was probably her only toy. Emma cringed inside.
She felt she needed to give her Cherry-Bear, but how could she? Cherry-Bear was her favorite toy! She made up her mind and went back to the carriage to get it. She brought it over to the little girl and said, "I need you to take care of my Cherry-Bear. Can you do that for me?" The little girl smiled. "Yes, I think I can." After the exchange, they all said, "Thank you Emma", and off they went. Odd, she thought. How did they know my name? Finally, she arrived at the castle and in the backdrop, she heard, "Hear ye! Hear ye! All hail the High King! Let the royal Christmas celebration begin!"
The King entered in His shining Christmas robes! Emma and Shu-Shu stared in amazement. As he took His throne for His birthday party Emma noticed something very odd. Everyone there had no gift to bring Him. This puzzled her and the King noticed. He summoned her to come forth and said, "What's wrong my child." Emma said, "If it is your birthday, how come no one has brought you a gift? Don't Kings get gifts on their birthday parties", she asked. The King then asked, "Well, yes we do. Where, pray tell, is your gift?" Embarrassed, she looked down. She took a deep breath and said, "I made a cake and had that with me but...but", and then before she could say what happened, the grandmother and her grandson appeared. So did the two parents and their daughter. They were in bright, glowing robes. Emma gasped in surprise. "Are they angels", she asked. "Yes," the King smiled. "I sent them out to help remind people of the true spirit of Christmas, and they found it in you!" "You see, by sharing your favorite things with them, you showed how to give me a Christmas gift. "For I do have a Christmas list, and it's found in everyone I created." "Anyone who desires to give me a gift, behold! Give food to the hungry and clothes to the cold, give care to the poor, both young and old, whatever gift you've given to a person in need, is indeed a gift you have given to me."
Emma said, "You mean, by giving to others we are actually giving you a present?" "That's right," the King said with the greatest of smiles. "My precious child, it takes a lot of love and courage to share the things that are dear to you. When you stopped to help others on your way to the castle, you showed what my love looks like." For I so loved the world that I gave it my only, most precious thing. I gave it my son. Whosoever believes in Him, believes in me, and this kingdom will be theirs forever. He in turn, gave his life; so sweet, like that cake you gave. He in turn, gave his life; covering so far and wide, like that cape you gave. He in turn, gave his life; so protective, like that bear you gave. On the King's list is every name of every person. May they always come to me through the gift I gave of my Son.
Once upon a time, is right now. It is your life. The Kingdom is near. Whatever gift you've given to a person in need, is indeed a gift you have given to Me."
Jesus told us once, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Are you like the little girl who gave, thinking not of herself, thinking not what she could get in return, but truly giving to another person out of want for them. Does your heart struggle with those who are hard pressed in finding something to eat, something to wear or somewhere to sleep? The list in which the King holds, is not one of judgment. It is one that accounts for acts of mercy. If God so loved us that He gave us His Son, what will you give to Him?
 The King's Christmas List, Eldon Johnson, Thomas Nelson publishing, 2010
 Luke 6:37-38