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Summary: God gave Christ as a gift, knowing that many would not accept the gift.

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The Unwanted Gift

Matthew 2:1-4; 16-18

Intro:

- Ever received an unwanted gift for Christmas

- Ever given an unappreciated gift for Christmas

- Christmas Carolers Receive No Praise for Giving

- It was a chilly December evening in downtown Chicago, and about a dozen people from a suburban Christian college were Christmas caroling. A few people stopped to listen. A black man edged closer as they sang. His head nodded in rhythm with the melody. He was probably in his 20s, but his tired and ragged appearance made him look much older."Say, brother," he said, approaching one of the carolers as the song ended, "Would you please help my family? We ain’t got no money, and my baby needs formula." "Please, man. I need to get us some food. Just a few dollars!" The carolers glanced at each other knowing the safest response was to politely refuse.Yet they were Christians. Weren’t we supposed to help needy people?"We can’t give you money," one man finally said, "but we can buy you what you need." "My name is Jerome," he told them as they walked toward a nearby convenience store. He lived in a city housing project with his wife and three kids. As they entered the store, they noticed that his eyes seemed to brighten. Maybe they had brought a little hope into his life.Soon the group had paid for baby formula, eggs, and milk, which seemed a fitting conclusion to the evening of caroling.As they handed Jerome the groceries and bus fare his eyes had darkened into an angry stare. "You think you better than me, don’t you?" he said. "You all think you somethin’ cause you come out from the suburbs, buyin’ food for the po’ folks, but you ain’t no better than me."There was nothing anyone could say that would change his mind. Just silence!Jerome grabbed his bag of groceries and walked away. Then he suddenly turned and said sharply, "Merry Christmas."It was not a warm wish, but a bitter statement filled with broken pride.The holiday spirit had suddenly evaporated, and there was no way to bring it back.Why had the carolers expected gratitude and appreciation for their gift to Jerome?Strangely enough, Jerome gave them something far better than gratitude. He made them look hard at selfish motives and gave them a sobering lesson on the real reason for giving.They were expecting a pat on the back. Instead, Jerome gave them a glimpse into the true meaning of Christmas.

I. That’s how it was at the first Christmas.

-Jesus wasn’t born a helpless baby for applause.

-God knew his gift would be criticized and rejected by many

-But he didn’t send it for those who rejected. He sent it for those who accepted it.

-He knew Herod would reject the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

-He knew the Jews would the turn against Christ

-He knew Judas would betray the Messiah

-The O.T was full of scripture telling how God’s gift to the human race would be rejected.

-He didn’t hang on the cross for the praise

-Those he died for made fun of him.

-They physically abused him

-Still, he gave selflessly and unconditionally.

(Ill) I Pastored a church and worked as News Director at a radio station in Indiana. One Friday a Lady called and said her family of 5 had only enough food to get them through the weekend.I contacted the church people and we collected 5 bags of groceries The next Sunday I drove from the church to the woman’s house to deliver the groceries (35 miles).Knocked on the door and asked where she wanted the groceries. The table is full so just put them on the floor and I’ll put them away later.It seemed every church in town had brought her at least 5 bags of groceries.She now had more groceries than myself and most of my church people. She never even said “Thank You”.I had prayer for the family and as I was heading out the door I said Merry Christmas and she said yeh!On my way home my mind was racing! How ungrateful she was. How I had wasted my time and resources on some ungrateful person.How far I had driven and didn’t even get a thank you. How I had worked hard and furious to contact the church people on that Friday and getting them to bring groceries to church on Sunday morning. It’s a good thing I had just over a 15-mile drive home because I was dealing with some issues in my life. As the “anger” dwindled the “guilt” replaced it.Maybe she wasn’t a good communicator and had never been able to express her feelings. Maybe she was so embarrassed by needing assistance that she didn’t think to say thanks. Whether she appreciated it or not I had done what I felt convinced I needed to do. What if she started going to church and gave her heart to the Lord because she saw the love of several churches. So what if it wasn’t my church. It was too far away. Let her go somewhere! Anywhere!I finally got back to what I have said several times this year. It’s not about me, its about Him


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