Summary: It’s good to give gifts. The story of the wise men giving their gifts to Jesus teaches us three things about giving today: Give an unexpected gift, give a gift with genuine joy, and give a gift that will last.
CHRISTMAS: THE GIVING OF GIFTS
INTRO TO TOPIC: Have you ever heard anyone say, “Christmas isn’t really about the gifts”?
• “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17). God loves to give good gifts!
• “Thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift.” (2 Cor. 9:15).
• Christmas is about celebrating the greatest Christmas gifts of all that God has given to us from Heaven: salvation, forgiveness, joy, peace and hope. More on that next week…
“This time of year never fails to excite me because God, the real gift-giver, found a way to love, bless and care for people like me. While the world has made Christmas a brazenly commercial, nonsacred event, I refuse to become cynical or allow what others do to strip My Favourite Day of its true meaning. For me, the bells I hear at Christmas announce the glorious truth that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…From Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem, to the shepherds in the fields, the angels in the heavens, and a bright star in the sky, God’s love found a way to package it all in just the right way at just the right moment… Realizing that God held back nothing, pulled out all the stops, and used the mighty resources of heaven to give the greatest gift of all ought to give us fresh reason to celebrate His birth—no matter how the world tries to twist or gloss over the truth.” (Ron Mehl, Love Found a Way).
“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 have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
• Application point: Wise men (and women) still seek the King today!
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46).
• Jesus is a treasure, a pearl of great price, and is worth everything!
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ " 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also." 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
• When you find Jesus, you will experience great joy!
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” (Matthew 2:1-12).
THE BIG IDEA: It’s good to give gifts. The story of the wise men giving their gifts to Jesus teaches us three things about giving today: Give an unexpected gift, give a gift with genuine joy, and give a gift that will last.
THE THREE WISE WOMEN – JOKE:
Things would have been considerably different if these wise men had actually instead been wise women. They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts from Baby’s-R-Us, including diapers, wipes, bibs and formula.
A. THE THREE GIFTS THE WISE MEN GAVE:
In the Nativity Story movie, the wise men present Jesus with the gifts and say, “Gold, for the King of Kings, frankincense, for the Priest of Priests, and myrrh, for the sacrifice He will make.”