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Summary: want you to see that Jesus is the greatest gift ever given. And Jesus is a gift. The offer of salvation, forgiveness, righteousness, and Heaven is a free gift given to anyone who would accept it. In fact, the Jesus Gift follows those three criteria we

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THE JESUS GIFT

LUKE 1:26-38

INTRODUCTION... Top Holiday Gifts for 2002

As silly as it sounds, I did a little research this week on what gifts were most popular during the Christmas season. I found information about Christmas gifts for 2002. Of course, 2003 is still in the works. What were the gifts that kids wanted last year? What makes a good gift for a kid?

Dora the Explorer (TV) SpongeBob SquarePants (TV) Thomas the Tank Engine (TV) Spider-Man (Movies)

Star Wars (Movies) LeapFrog (multiple product categories) LEGO (multiple product categories) Yu-Gi-Oh! - trading card game based on Japanese animation that is expected to be popular.

I am sure several of these will be popular again this year. Christmas is a time when we think about gifts. We know of course that Christmas is not all about trees and gifts and parties, yet that is part of the Christmas season. It is part of the celebration. Jesus is an important part of the Christmas season and in fact is the cause of it all. As Christians, we believe that and celebrate it.

You of course know what the worst gift is of all time? 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.” When asked how to dispose of a bad gift, 30% would hide it in the closet, 21% would return it, and 19% would give it away. This suggests that the Christmas fruitcake might get recycled as a gift for the host of New Year’s party (Resource, Mar/Apr, 1990).

[CONGREGATION PARTICIPATION: Ask the congregation for the best and worst gifts they have ever received. Focus more on the good gifts and highlight the following thoughts if they appear.]

It is always nice to receive a good gift. But what exactly is a good gift? What makes a good gift? I don’t think it has to do with price or brand, though sometimes it might. I came up with three criteria for good gift giving. Christmas is still a few weeks away and this might be helpful in your search for good gifts.

I would have to say that a good gift is:

1) Something someone thought about: they put planning and effort into the gift. Perhaps they made it or had it made. Last minute gifts you can usually spot, but a thoughtful gift is a good one.

2) Had you specifically in mind: they put their brain in gear and thought specifically about you. It always makes you feel good when someone has thought about you and given you a special gift. That makes it good as well.

3) You actually need it or want it: I wonder over the years how many gifts I have given to people who neither wanted nor needed the gift. This is the most important criteria at all. If the person does not want or need the gift, most likely another gift would be better.

I would like to share with you today that God has given you a good gift. God has given you the greatest gift ever in the form of His Son Jesus.

READ LUKE 1:26-38

I want you to see that Jesus is the greatest gift ever given. And Jesus is a gift. The offer of salvation, forgiveness, righteousness, and Heaven is a free gift given to anyone who would accept it. In fact, the Jesus Gift follows those three criteria we just spoke about. Jesus was well thought and planned out. Jesus was given with you in mind. Jesus is a gift we all need.

I. JESUS WAS A GIFT THOUGHT OUT AND PLANNED

This passage in Luke describes for us the time when Mary finds out the plan of God. And it was a plan. Verses 32 and 33 show us that this Jesus would be the culmination of all the promises of God. The promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and the prophets would all be fulfilled in Jesus. In fact, Jesus was the plan from the very beginning. Jesus was the plan when Adam and Eve decided to go their won way and disobey God. God planned for Jesus.

God knew in advance the kind of person Mary would be. Gabriel describes Mary as highly favored. I can hardly imagine what kind of women she was to be so favored by God. She must have been pure of heart and of soul. Mary was the plan from the beginning as well.

Jesus was no accident. His birth was no accident. His parents were no accident. The timing of His birth was no accident. Everything about this Jesus Gift was thought out and planned long before it came to be. That makes Jesus a great gift.

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