Summary: White Elephant, Functional, Returnable or Re-gift are all kinds of gifts we get at Christmas. But the most important gift we get is the timely gift that God gave through his Son Jesus.

The Gifts of Christmas

Title: The Timely Gift

Text: Luke 2:1-20

Purpose: God has given us the gift of time. (Fourth in series)

(Audio of sermon available at


Introduction: Tis the season of giving gifts.

Types of Gifts

1.White Elephant Gift: Usually inexpensive, designed to get a laugh at a Christmas party

2.Functional Gift: New tires, kitchen appliance, underwear, socks or clothes. Designed to replace something that is broken, worn out or lost.

3.Romantic Gift: Jewelry, something personal, designed to illicit an emotional response.

4.Unusual Gift: Usually bought by a relative who lives far away, who you won’t see, and who doesn’t really know what you want. Usual response- Huh….

5.Returnable Gift: Something received, and while making complimentary thank you, thinking of how to unload, return or re-gift the item.

6.Re-Gift: A gift usually given to someone else because we don’t want it or can’t use it. It saves us money and time.

HINT: If you re-gift

a. Don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you

b. Check to see if there is a card, note or money inside first

c. Change the wrapping paper

d. Make sure you know what’s inside first before sending a thank you. Boxes and gifts don’t always match.

7.Timely Gift: Something you never would get for yourself, but once received, you acknowledge it’s exactly what you need.

With each of these gifts, there usually is a story or memory attached.

Some of the stories in our hearts and minds reveal a Norman Rockwell picture of the perfect Christmas.

a. It may have been the first time for a child or grandchild

b. It may have been the unexpected return of a loved one serving in the military.

c. Maybe it was the Christmas you got a new bike, or video game, or special doll that you still treasure.

d. Maybe it was the year the Children’s program at church went on without a hitch.

e. A special time of communion on Christmas Eve

f. Or the year it snowed, and made it a postcard morning.

But other Christmas’ are forever etched in our memories that are not so perfect.

a. This is the year it snowed TOO much, and relatives got snowed in at the airport

b. It was the year someone forgot to turn on the oven, so Christmas dinner was late, or burned

c. It was the year we forgot the batteries and it dampened the thrill of a new toy

d. Maybe this was the year a loved one is away serving in our Armed Forces.

e. Or maybe there is the loss of a loved one this past year, and this is the first year without them.

Sometimes it may be these Christmas’ where everything seems to go wrong that we find the most authentic of our Christian experience, when we discover the Christ child most firmly in our midst. (1)

The first Christmas would never make it into our anyone’s family photo album of the perfect holiday moments.

In Luke’s gospel, there are a lot of details about everything that went wrong when Jesus was born.

a. Joseph and Mary had to leave and travel on the road to get to Bethlehem.

b. There was no room for them in the inn

c. The Baby Jesus was born in a barn

d. Some random bunch of smelly shepherds break in on the new family.

But there is something special about the event. Because it is a timely gift.

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above; coming down from the Father of heavenly light, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a women, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

When God sent his only Son, Jesus, it was at the right time.

TEXT: Luke 2:1-20.

QUESTION: What time is it for you?

Do you find yourself like one of the gifts we talked about?

a. White Elephant Gift: Listen, I’m just on the fringe with all this stuff. I don’t want to commit, I don’t want it to cost me anything more. I’ll give what I can, but I’m just in it to make me feel good.

b. Functional Gift: Jesus, I need you to replace something in my life which is broken. (Marriage or relationship/ financial instability/ unemployment or physical condition)

c. Romantic Gift: I need some emotion in my life. I’m so tired, and drained, even burned out. God I need a renewed spark in my life.

d. Unusual Gift: You question where or what God is doing, and you walk away saying …Huh?....

e. Returnable Gift: I’d just like to start all over and run away.

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