Summary: The gift of Jesus Christ was not born out of necessity or guilt, but out of love; the love of the Father, God, toward mankind, His prized creation.
The Greatest Gift
Characters of Christmas Series – Message Four - 2009
Gages Lake Bible Church
Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
It is so good to see all of you here, tonight, on this snowy and beautiful Christmas Eve. This is one of my favorite services of the year, as we leave behind the rush of the season and focus on exactly why that baby was born in the manger, 2000 plus years ago.
I’m hoping most of you have finished your gift shopping. This year the Darling Family did most of their shopping online. It was just easier.
What is your worst holiday gift? I’ve had some pretty bad gifts in my lifetime.
Recently, An American Express survey about Christmas gifts found that the fruitcake was chosen most often (31%) from a list of "worst" holiday gifts. It even finished ahead of "no gift at all," the second choice (18%).
When asked what people would do with a bad gift, 30% said they would hide it in the closet, 21% said they would return it, and 19% said they would give it away. This suggests that the Christmas fruitcake might get recycled as a gift for the host of a New Year's party.
God Is the Greatest Giver
We have all received bad gifts over the years, and, if we admitted it, we’ve given our share of bad gifts as well. If you’ve wrapped up a fruitcake this year, well, you’ve given a bad gift.
Or maybe this year you’ve not been able to give or receive as many gifts, due to the recession. Someone once said, “Christmas is when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money.”
But tonight I want to focus on the first gift of Christmas, and more importantly, the original Gift-Giver.
The Bible tells us in James 1:17 that “every good and perfect gift comes from above.” In Luke 11:13 says that if we earthly people give good gifts, how much more will the Heavenly Father give good gifts?
We might say God gives us many gifts—He gives us life, He gives us sunlight and food, He gives us health and wealth, He gives us family.
But tonight I want to focus in on the greatest gift God has ever given. This gift far outweighs anything God ever gave.
God’s gift was the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. 2,000 years ago, on a quiet night in Bethlehem, when the rest of the world was asleep, a little baby was born, not in a hospital or a clinic or even a nice home. This little baby was born to a poor, peasant Jewish couple in a cave used to keep animals.
Most of the world didn’t notice this baby, except for a few shepherds, some believing Jewish people, and some royal men from the East.
Yet this baby was no ordinary baby. This baby was Jesus Christ, God become flesh, Immanuel, God with us. This baby Jesus was God’s gift to a world that had long forsaken Him. A world steeped in evil and pride and foolishness.
Amazingly, God didn’t send this baby to the royal courts of Herod or the Halls of Rome. Jesus came to the poorest of the poor. And yet He came to the right family, just at the right time.
Galatians 4:4 says that “when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” In other words, Jesus came just at the right time. There is nothing as special as a gift time exactly and this was how God time His gift—with perfection.
Jesus came to the right family and the right situation.
We read in 2 Corinthians 8:9:
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (KJV)
In his best-selling book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey contrasts the humility that characterized Jesus' royal visit to planet Earth with the prestigious image associated with world rulers today:
Queen Elizabeth II visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, 40 pints of plasma, and white kid-leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser, two valets, and a host of other attendants. A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost 20 million dollars.
In meek contrast, God's visit to Earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn King but a feed trough.
But why was the gift so great?
It was a gift of love. This gift of Jesus Christ was not born out of necessity or guilt, but of love; the love of the Father, God, toward mankind, His prized creation.