Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is a message to let everyone know that the best gift is LOVE.

This is the time of the year we think of gifts and no doubt by now some of you have opened some from friends and family co-workers ect..

We all enjoy gifts.

Matt. 2:1,2, 11 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

These gifts of course were the most famous gifts ever given.

-gold, frankincense and myrrh

Most people trace the giving of gifts back to these men that traveled from the Iran or Iraq area.

Who would have ever thought that these gifts would have evolved into the Billion dollar business of the dept stores today in the retail industry. -shoppers will spend more than 4 billion dollars this year for Christmas. -that’s $2.8 million each minute

-In 2005, the average person living in the USA spend $1,300 on Christmas Gifts.

I did an in-depth study of the giving Christmas gifts and won’t bore you with all the details but habit of giving gifts didn’t really start in England until 1820’s and didn’t catch on in America until 1900.

Up until this time, gifts were given at the News Years to celebrate another year and not at Christmas time.

-the ancients in Rome called it Saturnalia (Sat-ur-na-lian) which was the feast of Saturn which they celebrated because it was a the new growing season in late December.

(It’s much like our present day Spring)

They would exchange gifts with those they loved, hoping it would bring them good fortune and good crops.

But down thru the years, in the 4th century the Christians took this custom and started using it as a day to remember the birth of Christ.

Eventually it went from New Years Day to Jan. 6th to

Dec. 6th which is the anniversary of the death of St. Nicolas in Turkey and then it switched to Dec. 25th about 100 yrs ago.

The Danes were the 1st ones to start wrapping their gifts and they would wrap them many times in a large boxes with someone’s name on it and then smaller boxes with different names on it until it finally got to the rightful person several layers and several boxes later.

This brings us back to the point of the wise men. These very enlightened men who believed the birth of Jesus was worth a long and perilous trip to present to him their best gifts.

Everyone say “Best Gifts”

I Cor.12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

We all want to be used by God and

want as many Spiritual gifts as we can get.

But the Word of God then goes on in Chapter 13, it tells us there is something far better than gifts.

There is a “more excellent way” than gifts, something much higher,

It’s a quality of life that surpasses all the gifts combined.

Every one of us can possess it if we choose to do so no matter who we are.

It’s far greater than the greatest combination of spiritual gifts.

-it’s called Love.

Sharing and giving our love to one another will bring us far more blessings than sp. gifts ever could.

I Cor. 13:1-13 (different version)

So as we understand the Word and apply it during this Christmas season, we all enjoy presents from one another and we appreciate spiritual gifts from God but the best thing according to the Word is the Sharing of our Love one with another. -this is the best way for the church to operate

-this is the best way for Christians to live

If I didn’t get you a gift for Christmas and

if you didn’t get me a gift for Christmas, that’s ok, we still love one another.

Love is the best thing we can give to each other!

So today when you are sitting around exchanging gifts and tearing away all the wrapping, just think about the love in that room.

-it’s not the cost of the gift but the love behind it, which matters.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God loved us so much he gave…. He gave us his life because he loved us!

Every year at this time we set out our Nativity scenes and we remember; who we are and what we have and what we’ve lost this past year.

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