Summary: This sermon unpacks the gift of the Christ child with the gifts we recieve each Christmas and draws similarities.
‘THE GIFT’ matt.2.1-15.
• Who likes giving and receiving gifts? Which do you prefer? Receiving or Giving?
I suppose the smart answer is that we prefer to give, but I’ve got to be honest I love receiving, If were to look at our society today I would say that the majority of us love receiving gifts I suppose that’s why the biggest pastime in our western culture today is shopping it has become the new religion of consumerism. Shopping centres have become the temples where we worship 7 days a week 365 days a year. Here we can receive what we want, when we want and how we want as long as we’ve got the plastic to cover it.
The enlightenment dictum ‘Cogito ergo sum’ I think therefore I am, has been changed to the consumerism dictum , ‘Tesco ergo sum’ I’ shop therefore I am.’ All t his Christmas shopping for gifts will come at a great cost to our debit and credit cards in fact over 20 billion will be spent on Christmas alone leaving many people in greater debt.
Today I want to share with you a gift which is available to us all, a gift you don’t have to buy, charge to your credit cards, because its all ready bought , a gift although already bought , was bought at great expense, it’s given completely unconditionally in fact as I look at the label, its actually got your name on it waiting for you to receive it and unwrap it as a free Gift. You see God is not like us...... God loves to give, again and again He gives, even tonight He’s desire to impart His gift to those human hearts who will receive Him This is the most wonderful message of Christmas, that God gave a GIFT for us all to receive.
• For God so loved the world that He gave .... Jhn 3:16,
• This is love not that we loved God but that He loved us and gave.........1Jhn
• Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down...... (James 1:17)
• By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
Friends you might receive some awesome presents this Christmas , a top of the range car, a new fur coat, a diamond ring , a new plasma TV , you might even receive some real howlers a hand knitted jumper, cheap after shave, a toy which breaks within the 1st hour. But there is one underlying characteristic to whatever gift you receive they will never truly satisfy the crave will always be for something else, it inbuilt into human nature, all material gifts pail into insignificance compared with the gift that God has to give to each one of us tonight. A gift which lasts forever guaranteed.
1. Undiscovered Gift. Matt 2: 1-6 .
• Christmas for a child is a wonderful time of discovery , I remember personal as a child trying to seek out where mum had put my gifts back in early December (I knew from an early age that Santa never delivered!) I would search high and low – interrogate mum - but each year the gifts remained undiscovered. On the other hand my brother didn’t real bother searching he just waited and found them on Christmas morning just like I did what remained undiscovered for both of us became gifts of discovery with a happy ending!
Matt 2: 1-6 . This reminds me of the wise men they are searching for a GIFT over 2000 years ago a gift which for a number of years remained undiscovered....... even after the birth , the child remains an undiscovered Gift (It wasn’t till Jesus was older – in a house at this time Mary and Joseph were married) .
• The nativity scenes with the Magi and the Shepherds all together is all wrong.
Scripture passage: These magi (wise men) who came from the east - (Babylon) possibly descendants of Jews who remained during the exilic period. It was here they had learned of a Messiah to be born, it was here, they learnt of a star which would rise out of Jacob (num24:17) . They were defiantly searching but at yet had not found, at this point the GIFT remains undiscovered, even when the star had arose in the night sky and they commenced their 800 mile journey from Babylon
Then when they arrived at Jerusalem still unsure but after speaking with Herod and the scribes and unpacking a 700 year old prophecy of Micah (v5-6) again searching pointing them ever closer to the GIFT in Bethlehem. On arrival they made the greatest discovery of their lives - as they gave their gifts ......