Summary: This sermon encourages us to re-think what Christmas should really be.

A Gift Worth Giving

Matthew 2:1-11

December 2, 2001


A. [A Giving Opportunity]

A mother was sick and tired of hearing her children always telling her what they wanted to get from Santa.

On one such occasion she reminded them of the real meaning of Christmas—Christmas is a time of giving and not receiving.

The children could tell that Mom really believed what sounded like absolute nonsense to them.

They secretly met and tried to figure out what was going through their mother’s head.

They finally came to a conclusion as to what must be done.

They went to the mother in a very concerned manner.

The oldest child acted as the spokesperson: "Mom, we’ve been thinking about what you told us about how important it is to give at Christmas; with all of our talk about Santa, you must have felt left out. We don’t want you to feel this way, Mom. So I’ll tell you what we have decided to do. Santa doesn’t have to get us all the presents; if you want to get us some, too, we’re going to let you!"

1. Has Christmas lost its meaning with you?

2. Do your Christmas traditions leave you feeling empty when it’s all over?

3. Do you dread the holiday season? Are you worried that your not prepared?

4. Today, I want us to re-think our Christmas traditions as God listens in on us.

B. Why do we give?

1. A gift for a gift, gift.

a. These are the gifts that are most often given at our Christmas’s.

b. We give to the people who give to us.

c. We try to keep track of how much we spend on our gifts.

d. We try to estimate how much the other person spent on their gift to us.

e. If we fear that they spent more on us, we have to keep our accounts balanced.

f. We either buy something else to try to make up the difference, or we make a note of it and buy something more expensive next Christmas.

g. We feel awful if we haven’t spent more than the other person spent or at least spent equally as the other person

h. This keeps the cash registers of America singing each year.

i. That’s the gift for a gift, gift.

2. A gift for a favor, gift.

a. These are a little less common than the gift for a gift, gift; but they are out there just the same.

b. We buy people gifts who have done us a favor.

c. Someone did something nice for us recently and we feel like we have to pay them back.

d. Again we have trouble running a deficit when it comes to giving.

e. We don’t want to be the one who had something done for them without attempting to pay the person back.

f. They’ve been especially nice to us in some way, so we feel the need to pay them back.

g. By the way, that will usually cheapen the value of the favor.

h. The person will not feel as good about the favor they did for us if we try to pay them back by buying them a gift.

i. But we do it all the time: "Fred did something really nice for me this year so I guess I’d better get him a Christmas present."

3. A gift for an obligation, gift.

a. That’s the only term I could come up with to describe these gifts.

b. I can’t tell you how much I dislike these gifts.

c. Its a yearly obligation to buy a gift for these people.

d. I can’t tell you how many miserable hours I have spent in malls trying to figure out what in the world to buy for this person.

e. "We’re going to have a family gathering and I’ve got to get something for these people, but I have NO IDEA what to get them."

f. "Let’s see, I bought them a can opener last year—what should I buy this year? How about a fruit cake?!"

g. Retail stores prepare for these gifts for an obligation gifts: They set up those tables out in the middle of the main aisles just for these gift for an obligation gifts.

h. You’ve seen ‘em—they usually have one for women with women type stuff, such as: perfume and kitchen gadgets.

i. They have a separate table for men: ties, silk boxer shorts, and the cheapest quality tools you’ve ever seen!

j. Can you tell how much I dislike these gifts?

k. That’s the gift for an obligation, gift.

4. But then there is a much better gift that I call a grace gift!

a. This is the gift that I want to talk to you about today.

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