Summary: God gave to us a special Christmas gift, but it is up to us to accept it.

Text: “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing another” (John 1:15).

The season of Christmas for 2009 is now past. The past year leaves us with many memories. Some things we care to remember and other things we would like to forget. The Christmas decorations are coming down or have already been taken down. The beautiful wrapping paper has been torn and placed in the garbage can. Some bows have been saved because they are considered special, but most have now been discarded.

Many people have been hurt during the year because of the economy. A large number of people have people have lost their source of income and the housing situation has been disastrous for some. Those who were fortunate enough to keep working have seen their benefits lost or decreased.

God knows what we are going through. He knows how we feel, where we hurt, and the worry and stress brought upon us. He is a God of love and a God of mercy. He said He would not give us more than we can handle. He gives us one day at a time and stays with us all the time. God said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Christmas time is a joyous time and the joy should remain throughout the coming year. Presenting gifts and receiving gifts should be done with love. There are people who will shop and spend until they have found the perfect gift for that special person. Adults and children have a tendency to want more items than are necessary. Merchants advertise items that one just cannot live without.

I have nothing against giving and receiving gifts and I realize that merchants must sell if they are going to stay in business. The issue I have involves wants and needs. Adults and children are guilty of this. All the wants we have may not make us happy. We all have needs, but at times we become greedy and want more than we need.

Last week we talked about the wise men that saw the star in the sky and followed it to where Jesus was. They presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Note that each person presented Jesus with just one gift not many gifts. These gifts were carried a long distance by the wise men and they were presented with love.

How many gifts do we give and receive at Christmas time? I would venture to say that many people received many gifts. I also know that many people received one gift and some received no gift. Those who received one gift were probably happier than or just as happy as the person who received multiple gifts. Those who received no material gift were probably most appreciative and understood the real meaning of Christmas.

Poem: “Give Me These Gifts”

I want no frankincense, myrrh and gold

Like the wise Men brought to the Child of old,

But this I crave with a great desire—

These gifts I ask with my soul on fire:

Peace of mind in this heart of mine,

Comrade-love as a light to shine

Like the golden gleam of an afterglow

Of sunset over a field of snow;

A woodfire, bright in the twilight gloam,

And the holy warmth of a loving home;

Friends who will take my reaching hand

Like the star of old in a distant land,

And guide my steps to a manger shrine

And the heart of a lowly Child, Divine!

------------Wm. L. Stidger

After Christmas gifts are opened, it is not uncommon to hear the words, “Is that all I get?” I have heard this from adults as well as children. Adults think they need all the latest gadgets, cell phones, computers, tools, while children believe they are entitled to all the toys they see advertised on television.

“Where are the rest of my gifts?” “I didn’t get everything I asked for.” “I know Santa Claus wouldn’t let me down.”

The days before Christmas are exciting days. Many television programs are geared to Christmas. Churches are rehearsing for pageants, programs, and special services. Decorations are being placed on the outside of the house as well as on the inside. Christmas music is being played and in many homes, special food is being prepared. Family get-togethers are in the planning stages.

During the Advent Season we were wishing people a “Merry Christmas.” Now that Christmas has passed, we are wishing people a “Happy New Year.”

Some people consider Christmas a depressing time of the year. Perhaps a loved one has been called home by the Lord. Maybe there is illness or maybe times are just really difficult. Loneliness pushes one into a depressed state leaving the door open for the devil to get his foot in and start the individual thinking about an easy way out. The road to self-destruction looks good during this time of depression.

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