Summary: Christmas series part 4
Well, Christmas is only 4 days away. All of you procrastinators had better get going because, you know that the local 7-11 only has so many of those “World’s Greatest Mom” mugs, Lovin’ Spoonful greatest hits cassettes and those beverage helmets where you can place a can on each side with a straw down to your mouth.
Christmas shopping can be fun. Especially if you don’t wait till the last minute. But it can be difficult, as well. Choosing the right gift to express your love for the recipient can make it very difficult. You want to make sure that the person you’re giving the gift to knows exactly how much you love them.
Did you hear about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas? A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive vehicles." "She did," he replied. "But where am I gonna find a fake Jeep?" Can you feel the love here?
Let me ask you, “What was the most expensive gift you ever received for Christmas? What was the most expensive gift you ever gave?” Most of us go too far into debt buying gifts we can’t afford to give to people we really don’t like all that much anyway.
We assign different value to the people in our lives. For most of us, our spouses, children and grandchildren will receive the most valuable of our Christmas gifts and from there we use an imaginary sliding scale of lesser and lesser value.
I remember, maybe you do to, about a time when I was sent into one of those “Dollar Stores” to purchase some white elephant gifts. Now at the time I had no idea what a white elephant gift was so I spent time actually looking for white elephants.
But we often give white elephant gifts to those farther down on our Christmas list. You know what I’m talking about, fluorescent socks, coffee mugs honoring the inventor of Velcro, or anything from Ronco.
Teachers, I’m sure you get some very nice gifts from your students, but tell me, how many do you get each year that have some sort of apple or school motif? Yes, it is the thought that counts but sometimes you can tell there isn’t much thought put into it.
Since it is only 4 days till Christmas, we’re here in a church, and we call ourselves Christians, let’s make sure we understand one thing.
Christmas is a “God thing.” It was his idea. He planned the whole thing out himself. Looking at our culture one might think that Christmas was a joint marketing ploy put upon the public by the manufacturing industry and the retailers. One day some perfume people got together with the electric razor people and voila – Christmas! But, no, Christmas actually began in the heart of God.
Christmas is about God’s gift. God sent Jesus to save us from our sins. He sent Jesus to save us from ourselves. He sent Jesus to save us from Satan. He sent Jesus to save us from Hell. Now let me tell you, that’s no white elephant gift!
Let’s look at some of His Gifts. What are some of God’s gifts to us through His Son, Jesus?
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
James 4:6 – “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
So SOME of the gifts we are given are eternal life, grace, and wisdom. In the past 3 weeks we’ve looked at God’s gifts of hope, peace, and joy. Today I want to tell you about another gift. Do you know what it is?
Let me give you some clues: It is by far the strongest force in the universe. It is higher than the highest mountain. It is deeper than the deepest sea. Better than a $500 gift certificate. Better than a box of chocolates and a dozen red roses.
Better than new power tools, a big screen TV, and a remote car starter. Better than a hot bath with candles and a good book. Better than losing 30 pounds. Better than spending the winter somewhere in the sunny southern US.
It’s better than a baby that sleeps all night, toddlers who don’t whine, and teenagers who are appreciative. Better than a spouse who appreciates how hard you work. It’s better than grandkids who visit often and always give you a hug and kiss even when they’re 16. It’s even better than this stack of letters I received from you this spring at the Great Banquet.