Summary: God has given us Himself in Christ. As Christians, we are called to offer ourselves. We are to be a gift to God and a gift for others.
We are catching into this spirit of giving at Christmas - the world says it’s the season of giving.
• And it means of buying too, because without buying there won’t be any giving.
• You see that all around you. When I opened my mailbox a few days ago after my trip, it was jam-packed with mails. There were many colourful, glossy booklets – some from shopping malls, some from credit card companies - informing you of all the great Christmas discounts you can get.
• Banks are offering you interest-free loans so that you can lend to buy.
• Go to the malls and you’ll see that many items are already gift-packed for you, nicely packaged as gifts. You just need to buy and give. No wrapping needed, no wrapping papers needed.
• We see that here, we see that in Italy, France, in our tour.
• People are into this buying craze in order to give.
Yes, Christmas is all about giving - BUT it’s a giving of a life.
• Christ gave Himself to a world lost in sin.
• Being in very nature God, yet did not consider equality with God something to hold on to.
• He made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
• He humbled himself, even to the point of death – and not a simple death, but shameful and torturous one on the cross!
Christ did not give us something. He gave us Himself.
• “For unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given.”
• Christmas is all about the giving of a PERSON!
• Our lives have been changed because SOMEONE gave Himself, and sacrificed.
As I was pondering this – the fact that the world is so caught up by the giving of things - we as Christians are called to offer our lives to God.
• Rom 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.”
• Worship is more than just the offering up something to God; it is the offering of our selves to God.
• Jesus wasn’t impressed by the rich that brought in lots of money, but by the poor widow that gave two coins – her life’s savings.
• It is not burnt offerings and sacrifices that God is delighted in but our obedience to Him. (cf. 1 Sam 15:22) Samuel told King Saul.
If we are called to be like Jesus, then Christmas forces us to confront this truth:
• God wants us to offer our lives to Him so that His will can be accomplished.
• That was what Jesus did.
It is the giving of ourselves, not just things that God wants.
• God does not really need our things, He needs us. He calls people, not things.
• He called Abraham; He called Moses; He called Samuel; He called Mary; He called John the Baptist (he Bible says, he "was a man sent from God.” (John 1:6)
• We see God providing the things: Food, water, land, flock, harvest… but He calls the man.
The world has made Christmas a season of giving, which is good.
• But we have to go beyond that – beyond the ‘once-in-a-year I give you a thought and buy you a gift’ thingy.
• Which is good in itself, but we have to go beyond that.
• When thinking about gifts – probably once a year at Christmas or birthday, consider this: People need us more than the things we can buy them.