Sermons

Summary: This Christmas season as we seek to meet our Christmas Expectations, how can we help others meet those expectations, by our being the gift.

Be the Gift!

Matthew 2:1-12

December 9, 2018

In past years we’ve talked about the art of regifting. And it is an art. How do you tactfully give a gift which you’ve been given and remember who gave it to you, so that you don’t regift to the giver? That can be pretty exhausting in and of itself. It’s hard to forget when you receive those types of gifts.

As we move toward Christmas, we’re talking about Christmas expectations. Will Christmas meet our expectations or will the Christmas reality be something that leads us to feel disappointed?

Let me ask you this ~ What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received? Not that silly White Elephant Gift, but a true gift that you were given that was really awful.

A number of years ago, Time Magazine had an article about some of the worst gifts given. One woman wrote, for years her mother-in-law bought the other daughter-in-law expensive makeup or perfume, and then would give her the free gift that came with it.

One man wrote ~ his mom gave him a book she had on her coffee table for years.

Another woman wrote ~ “one year for Christmas my mother in law gave my husband a thick, beautiful cashmere sweater and she gave me a mug that said ‘Scott’s Wife.’

One man received a Christmas ornament, but he’s Jewish! We can go on! But suffice it to say, we know a bad gift when we see it.

But I think it's not just the gift itself that makes a gift bad - - - it's actually the giver's attitude that makes it really bad. If a giver has an attitude of thoughtfulness and care, then even a bad gift isn't so bad. In a strange way, it may actually be touching.

But if a giver has a spirit which borders on bitterness, vengenance, or apathy, then it may be that no matter what they give, it’s not really going to be appreciated.

You see, the people behind the gifts are what make for the quality of any gift at Christmas. In some sense, people are actually the gift beyond what they give. Someone may not have much, but when you know the thought and heart put behind it, we’re often touched by their sincerity.

So with all the gifts we're going to be giving and receiving, how can we be the sort of giver that helps someone feel valued? How can we be the real gift, beyond the gift?

It’s not always easy to get what we want. Sometimes we’re overly practical, and sometimes we throw caution to the wind and go crazy. But at this time of year, with all of those magical Christmas expectations, it becomes kind of hard, and maybe a little intimidating.

Personally, on Christmas day, Debbie and I would see other kids FB posts - - they received a new TV or a new phone, or a laptop, or XBox. Our kids got games or clothes or something we thought was good, but NOT that good! So, we need to be careful when buying, because we need to put ourself into the gift - and not compare with others.

Love should be behind all of it, but how easy is it to love with all the Christmas chaos and how ugliness seems to surface around this time of year? So, again, let me ask ~ How can you and I be the real gift on Christmas?

To look at this, I want to go back to a visit Mary and Joseph had. This was from the Magi or Wise Men as they sought to worship and honor the birth of Christ.

These Wise Men were astrologers who looked to the night sky to make predictions, like ancient horoscope readers. They were famous for their ability to interpret dreams and unlock future mysteries.

Their predictions and interpretations could make or break a ruler in Persia. They could send a nation into a panic or help keep them calm. These guys were very influential in the ancient world.

Now, remember astrologers, looking at your horoscope and consulting psychics were all forbidden by Jewish law. The Jewish people didn’t like these people because they were viewed as sinful. They were breaking biblical law, that was sin.

So, here we have the most important event in Jewish history, and foreign astrologers are the one doing the searching for Jesus.

Let’s look at the story in Matthew 2 ~

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,

2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

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