Summary: (Thanks be to another contributor for the outline) How do you measure God’s Gift to us? Here are three ways.
I. It is almost here; that special time of year called Christmas,
A. That time of year when some family members travel great distances, just to be together.
B. That time of year when life gets extremely busy, what with all the shopping, wrapping of gifts, extra church activities, planning and attending Christmas parties; and for most of us, it will run all the way through New Years.
C. The song says, “It’s the most, wonderful time of the year” and for many of us, Christmas does hold a certain amount of “magic.”
II. Christmas, more than any other holiday, really is a universal holiday,
A. Christmas is the one holiday that almost every nation celebrates,
1. When I lived in Germany, the Germans celebrated Christmas,
2. Very few places do not have some form of Christmas
B. Christmas is the one holiday that almost every person celebrates
1. Christmas is not just for Christians,
a. I have Jewish acquaintances that give Christmas gifts, even though they claim not to celebrate Christmas,
b. People that do not even believe in God, celebrate Christmas, of course they probably call it something else.
C. Christmas is universal.
III. Many families have traditions that are wrapped up in Christmas,
A. Maybe it’s a special meal;
1. Many people make another big turkey dinner for Christmas,
2. For the past 30 years, Maryann and I have forgone the big Christmas dinner, in favor of spaghetti and meatballs.
B. Maybe its that special trip to grandmom’s or some other family members on Christmas eve or Christmas day.
C. For some, it is scheduling a trip to a church service.
D. When I was young, my family used to gather on Christmas Eve at my sister’s home, (she had like seven children, so that was easier for her) and we would get to open one present on Christmas Eve.
1. We almost looked forward to Christmas Eve more than Christmas day, because that one present seemed so special.
2. This year, again for Maryann and I, we look forward to our scattered children all being home at the same time.
IV. Christmas, that special time of year for gift giving and receiving.
A. When someone asks us, “What do you want for Christmas, many of us probably say something like,
1. “O, I don’t know.” or
2. “Anything will do.” and a few of us even say,
3. “I really don’t want anything this year.”
B. BUT, probably most of us have an idea of at least one special gift that we are hoping to receive for Christmas this year.
1. That one very special present,
a. It might be something you need,
b. It might be something you’ve put off getting for yourself.
c. It might simply be some little luxury that you just want,
2. But most of us have an idea of one gift we are hoping or planning to receive, and for us, that gift, regardless of cost is valuable.
V. Let me ask you a question this morning,
A. “What is it that makes a gift ‘valuable’ to us?
B. What criteria do you use to analyze the value of a gift you receive?
1. Is it the size of the gift?
a. The larger the package the more value it has.
b. That was often the case when I was to young to realize that “good things come in small packages.”
2. Is it the weight of the item.
a. Did you even notice how many people will pick up a package and check it’s weight.
b. Often the first comment is, “It’s heavy.” as if weight might determine value.
3. Maybe it’s how many carats it has; life was simpler for some of us when we thought carrots were only something to eat.
4. Sometimes the “usefulness” of the gift might determine it’s value.
a. If I need it, it has value,
b. If I can put it to use, it has value.
c. But listen guys, most folks really don’t want a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas.
VI. Did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about gifts?
A. The word “gift” is used some 55 times in scripture.
1. John 4:10 reads - “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
2. 2nd Cor. 9:13 says - “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
3. Prov. 127:3 - “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruite of the womb is a reward.”
4. Just a sampling.
B. The word “gifts” is used some 65 times.
VII. The bible says that God has given us several gifts, but it says that He has given us one very special gift, and this morning I would like us to look at three ways to measure the value of God’s gift to us.