This sermon is part of the sermon series "Christmas Is for Real People". See series.
When the great Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this past summer, he began a speech as smooth and fluid as one of his signature homeruns. There came a memorable moment, however, when Sandberg lost his usual poise. Eyes welling and lip trembling, Sandberg called his Hall of Fame induction the "second-best" thing that had ever happened to him. "My wife, Margaret, is the best thing that has ever happened to me," he said. "[Margaret] is my best friend. She is the love of my life. She is my salvation. She is my past, my present, my future. She is my sun, my moon, my stars. She is everything that's good about life, and I thank her for entering my life at a time when I needed her most." Wow.
Over the course of 20 years of pastoral ministry, I have had the opportunity to perform the weddings of more than 100 couples. I can't think of a single one of them who, when I first encountered them sitting upon the pre-marital couch, did not have in their eyes the dream of building a marriage something like Ryne Sandberg described. All of them began with a vision of having not just a surviving marriage, but a Hall of Fame marriage—one of the great marriages, the kind of friendship that brings out the best in each other, that helps each other rise above adversity. The kind of union that produces something even larger than the sum of its parts. The kind of bond that the grandchildren and neighbors and friends will look at and say, "Oh, God, give me a relationship like that!"
Maybe you're blessed with a union like this. Perhaps you find yourself longing at times for that quality of connection. Maybe you haven't given much thought to how your relationship is trending, or maybe ...
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