Summary: Changing Our View of Gift Giving at Christmas to Gifts of Grace
A Gift Worth Giving
Please turn with me to Matthew, Chapter 2 for the reading of the story. It’s one that we’ve read and heard hundreds of time. And yet, true to the, not only to the story of the spirit of Christmas, but to the tradition that I think we’ve had at Skyline for the last few years, these messages will be very simple.
The beauty of Christmas is that it’s a profound message, yet so simply given.
We will seek to take the obvious and then pull truths for daily living out of it.
2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The wise men started it all. When I talk about starting it all, I’m talking about gifts. Giving gifts, receiving gifts.
their gift was personally given.
These were wealthy people.
They were from another country. In fact, they were from Iraq.
They could have sent the gift.
they were on a mission and they personally wanted to bring these gifts to the Christ child.
When you read this story, the personal part kind of pops out at you. Look at verse 2, "We saw His star in the East and have come to worship Him." Look at verse 9, "They went their way." Look at verse 10, "And when they saw the star, they rejoiced." Verse 11, "They came into the house. Opening their treasures, they fell down and worshiped Him. Opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts." It personally was given.
The second thing I notice is that it was properly given. More than just gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. But it was a gift with worship and adoration and glory, and honor and praise to Jesus.
Jon Maxwell noted that there are
COMPARE: THREE KINDS OF GIFTS THAT PEOPLE GIVE AT CHRISTMAS TIME.
1 -- THE GIFT FOR A GIFT, GIFT.
Every one of us has done this before. It’s the gift for a gift, gift. And, basically, what the gift for a gift, gift is that we get a gift from somebody and so we kind of figure out how much it was and so we go down to the May Company or somewhere and we buy a gift of about the same kind of a price and it’s a gift for a gift, gift. And every one of us has given a gift for a gift, gift, gift.
Now, the characteristic about a gift for a gift, gift, gift is, this person that does this keeps a long mental picture of what that value of that gift was. Have you ever heard anybody say, "Oh, yeah. I got them something nice and they didn’t get me anything in return." They keep long scores. This approach feeds the cash registers of our department stores.
"Oh, my goodness we’ve got to get a gift because they gave me a gift and I wonder how much it costs. And I hope this is about the same cost."
Kind of a tit for a tat.