Summary: This time of the year we celebrate God’s gift of his Son to us. However there are gifts he likes to recieve in return from us
Who likes to receive gifts?
Most of us do
Gary Chapman has written a book about five different love languages and one of those languages for some people is the receiving of gifts
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, one of God’s love languages is the “Giving” and the “Receiving” of gifts
We are very much aware of the gift of his Son to us
But today I want to focus on the gifts we can give back to God
One of the things we see throughout scripture is God wanting to receive gifts from us
Cain and Abel brought offerings to God
Abraham brought gifts to Melchizedek after God delivered Lot
The Mosaic sacrificial system allowed for “Freewill” offerings
This by the way is the spirit by which God wants us to give these things to Him, not as obligation, but as gifts to someone we love
After all, rarely do we go out of our way to give gifts to those we don’t love
The NT too starts off with a story of people bringing gifts to God
What is that story?
If you said the wise men, technically you are right if you are only considering tangible gifts
But if you were to consider intangible gifts as well the answer would be different
And I would dare to say God is more pleased with our intangible gifts than our tangible gifts
Who can think of any intangible gifts we can give to God?
Let’s pick on some young teenage girl and ask her what would happen to your life if an angel suddenly appeared and told you, you were going to have the honor of bearing the “Son of God”
What would happen to your big plans for life?
Yet this is exactly what happened to Mary
Here she was, a virgin, engaged to be married, had kept herself pure, and suddenly she finds herself in the circumstances of being regarded as a loose woman
What would Joseph do, leave her? What would her parents do, abandon her? How would she survive the ridicule and provide for the baby
Yet after weighing up the circumstances, Mary was still willing to turn her life over to God, What an incredible example of obedience
So the first gift Jesus was to receive happened 9 months or so before his birth, and that was the gift of “Obedience”
Mary’s response is found in Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” And then the angel left”
God knew Mary’s heart long before Gabriel showed up because she had a willing heart
Notice something else about this young teenage girl. She was willing to question an archangel. It was not “check your brain at the door” and just follow blindly
Luke 1:34-35 “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
God does not take away our freedom to choose
If after getting the facts Mary decided that wasn’t for her, I’m sure she could have gone on with her life
So here we see a wonderful example of an intangible gifts given to God and it was the gift of obedience
Every day when we say “yes” to God rather than “no” we too give him the gift of obedience
Not too far removed from this little scenario that is developing is the poor unsuspecting fiancé. As usual, we guys are always the last to know
Mary knew she was a virgin, but Joseph didn’t and despite all of Mary’s attempts to convince him otherwise, Joseph wasn’t going for the Holy Spirit excuse
Its not every day you hear the “Holy Spirit” excuse
So you have to admire Joseph for the way he handled the situation
Matthew 1:18-21 Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.
Fortunately God comes to Mary’s rescue
As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”