Summary: The gift of the Christ child, is the Ultimate gift from God--the ultimate cost, the ultimate impact that ultimate expanse.
Luke 2:1-14 “The Ultimate Gift”
Besides the story of Jesus’ birth, one of the most cherished Christmas stories was written by the author O Henry and entitled, “The Gift of the Magi.” Perhaps many of you have read this story and have been moved by its timeless message.
James [Jim] Dillingham Young and his wife Della are a young couple who are very much in love with each other, but can barely afford their one-room apartment due to their very bad economic situation. For Christmas, Della decides to buy Jim a chain which costs 21 dollars for his prized pocket watch given to him by his father. To raise the funds, she has her long and beautiful hair cut off and sold to make a wig. Meanwhile, Jim decides to sell his watch to buy Della a beautiful set of combs made out of tortoiseshell and jewels for her lovely, knee-length brown hair. Although each is disappointed to find the gift they chose rendered useless, each is pleased with the gift they received, because it represents their love for one another.
The story ends with the narrator comparing the pair’s mutually sacrificial gifts of love with those of the Biblical Magi:
The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men – who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
One might call the gifts of James and Della the “ultimate gifts,” but their gifts (as well as all of ours) pale in comparison to the gift that was given to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the Christ child.
Dictionaries offer a variety of definitions for the word, “Ultimate.” The definition that I think best fits the Christmas story identifies ultimate as “the greatest possible size or significance.” A synonym for “ultimate,” is the word, “maximum”
The God whom we worship is a gift giving God. He is also a God who gives abundantly. Perhaps some of us struggle with this truth, as we wrestle with the banks about refinancing our homes, or wonder why a job won’t open up when we so desperately need one. At the same time, we have food to eat, shelter and clothing. More than that we have family and friends, and perhaps even greater gifts are the ones of faith hope and love.
Besides the everyday gifts, God has blessed the world with such wonders as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Glacier. God has blessed us with ocean sunsets, mountain vistas, and monsoons, and that wonderful aroma after a rain shower.
None of God’s gifts, from the everyday to the spectacular, can come close to the gift of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus is so much the ultimate gift that its cost is beyond our comprehension.