Summary: How can we get back to celebrating Christmas with less of the stress and yet give even more meaningful gifts that will express our love in greater ways?
Give more “Presence”
I want to ask you a question.
What makes a good gift?
Is it the amount of money that is spent on the gift?
Does a good gift come from certain stores only with certain names on them?
Is a good gift one that is completely practical?
Is it exactly what was asked for?
Or is a good gift one where there was thought put into
who was receiving the gift and
what it is that they may like or that will communicate thought and love?
I want you to watch this clip and think about what the gifts that are given here communicate.
Friends Christmas video(last minute of Season 2, episode 9 (#33) “The One with Phoebe’s Dad”) - Joey and Chandler give gifts purchased at the last minute from a gas station. (Note: edit out the last gift given to Monica)
Slide after video
Joey and Chandler obviously picked up gifts at the last minute and not only spent very little money on them, they put little thought into the gifts.
Now I am sure that none of us here have ever done anything as blatantly thoughtless as that, but I would imagine that many of us have given gifts that had little meaning or thought behind it.
This morning we are continuing our series, “Keep Christ in Christmas.”
Last week we talked about how our culture has turned away from this being a celebration of Christ’s birth and into just a time when we are out trying to get the best deals.
And we talked about one of the ways to overcome this cultural slide that is invading the church was to truly worship Christ. Not just by showing up on the weekends to sing songs, but to worship Him through our obedience, our submission and through our sacrifice, like they did at the very first Christmas.
But that is only the beginning. I believe that for us to continue to move in the direction away from this societal slide, then we also need to learn how to give differently, and more thoughtfully like Christ gave to us.
Now I know that there are people who are very thoughtful and give meaningful gifts and are sacrificial in their giving. I want to urge those of you who do these things to keep doing them.
But for many people, Christmas has become a time when we buy and receive gifts, with little thought at all behind why we give or about whom we are giving to.
This is what our culture has turned it into. While there are parties and get togethers that go on at this time of year, it doesn’t seem to be the time of celebration that it should be.
Christmas is a celebration about Jesus and the salvation that has come into the world through Him and the joy we get to experience because of Him. And it is a time of great joy.
In Luke 2:10-14
We see the angels come first to the shepherds to announce the birth of the Christ child.
They say to the frightened shepherds, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord…14 "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:10-11, 14)
God’s favor has come upon us in the form of His Son being born in a manger and this is “good news of great joy” and it is something to celebrate with people because it is “for all the people.”
Christmas is a time when we should share the joy of what Christ has done for us by
celebrating in honor and recognition of the birth of Christ.
But, like many things though, over time, the things that started out in a good way get corrupted by a sinful humanity and it ends up bringing pain or stress and a lack of joy.
How do we get back to celebrating the birth of Christ in a way that is truly joyful and celebrates what has been done for us?
I think this is going to require
a change in the way we spend and
a change in how we give.
I want to begin today talking about our spending. And I want to say that the problem isn’t necessarily our spending, but what we are seeking to buy with our spending.
In our spending,
We often spend to buy Fulfillment and Contentment
We often think if we had the newest iphone or an ipad or a bigger TV, then we would be content. And often as we buy for others, we are breeding that same “contentment through stuff” attitude.