Summary: How God’s gift of Jesus is one gift after another!
In only four days it will be Christmas Day. I hope Christmas shopping hasn’t got you down…fighting the traffic and the crowds at the mall, spending all that money, putting up with unfriendly shoppers & sales clerks…
It was a few days before Christmas on the Oregon coast. Two men whose families lived next door to each other opted to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. An unexpected storm surprised the weekend sailors. Before long, the sea became angry, and the two had a difficult time keeping the sailboat under control. While heading toward the harbor, the craft hit a sandbar and grounded. Both men jumped overboard into the icy water and began to push and shove in an attempt to get the sailboat into deeper water. Knee-deep in mud and repeatedly bounced against the hull by unfriendly waves, the one said to the other, “Sure beats Christmas shopping, doesn’t it?”
If your Christmas experiences have been stressful and unsatisfying up until now let’s see if we can remedy that by looking into the Good News of God’s Word!
Last week we investigated part of Luke’s Christmas story and discovered how we benefit from sharing Christmas greetings of good news, grace and giving affirmation year round. I hope you’ve been practicing these precepts and if you have I’m sure it’s been a boost to your enjoyment of the Christmas season.
Today we’re going to look at part of Matthew’s Christmas story in chapter two of his Good News Account and learn from God’s example once again – but this week we learn how to share Christmas gifts.
1NOW WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, 2Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east at it’s rising and have come to worship Him.
3When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed and troubled, and the whole of Jerusalem with him.
4So he called together all the chief priests and learned men (scribes) of the people and anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5They replied to him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are not in any way least or insignificant among the chief cities of Judah; for from you shall come a Ruler (Leader) Who will govern and shepherd My people Israel.
7Then Herod sent for the wise men [astrologers] secretly, and accurately to the last point ascertained from them the time of the appearing of the star [that is, how long the star had made itself visible since its rising in the east].
8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search for the Child carefully and diligently, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.
9When they had listened to the king, they went their way, and behold, the star which had been seen in the east in its rising went before them until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was.
10When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy.
11And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts--gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12And receiving an answer to their asking, they were divinely instructed and warned in a dream not to go back to Herod; so they departed to their own country by a different way. (Amplified Bible)
Originally I was planning on using this Scriptural platform to share with you the significance of the gifts of the wise men. But the Holy Spirit changed my mind and instead we’re going to consider gifts from God.
God was the giver of the first Christmas gift when He gave His Son to us. As we unwrap the gift that was given in Jesus we notice that it is multi-faceted. The gift of God’s Son is the greatest gift ever given on so many different levels! That’s what John said about the gift of Jesus in his Good News Account.
14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth. 16 Because he was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another. John 1:14,16 (NCV)
Remember when you were a child and Christmas was exciting because you looked under the tree and there were not just one, but several presents with your name on them? The Bible says that God has “one gift after another” with your name on it!