Summary: Looking at the value of God's gift to us in Jesus
The Value of God's Gift
December 18, 2016
Christmas is such a great time of the year, especially for kids. But my family didn’t celebrate Christmas, so I missed out on all of that fun. But we did celebrate Chanukah! We would light the Chanukah candles each night for the 8 nights of the holiday - - - and - - - we would open presents too.
I would receive a present each night, which was really cool. The first night was always the night for the big present. I always looked forward to the night, to lighting the candles, then getting ready to see what my gift was. I never searched the house, I was always low key when it came to gifts. But I did want the biggest and best gift possible.
As a child, I wanted the biggest gift, heaviest gift possible. That meant it was going to be the best gift. When you think about it, we all have ideas of what the best present is, don't we? We can picture it in our mind. How do you measure the value of a gift? How do you judge its worth? By its size? Its weight? Its cost? Its uniqueness?
What I'd like to do is look at God's gift to us. Imagine it's wrapped up, it has bows and it's standing in the corner and it's large.
The apostle John told us ~
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. — 1 John 4:9-10
It's pretty clear in these verses that God's gift to us is His Son, Jesus. The gift isn't a thing, it's a person. At Christmas we remember this person was born over 2,000 years ago. Some of you may wonder what's the big deal with a child born and put into a manger over 2,000 years ago? Why all the songs, carols, lights, and cheesy TV movies? Four million babies are born each year in our country alone. Why is this child's birth so special? Why do we sing about one single child born so many years ago, far away in the Middle East? What's the big deal about this one? Why is this gift so valuable? We can measure the value of this gift in a few ways.
First, God's gift is measured by His motive. All of us have received gifts where we've questioned the motive. It doesn't matter how awesome the gift is, if the motive of the giver is somehow in question, the value of the gift is diminished. Maybe someone was motivated by guilt or obligation. Maybe someone was motivated by a desire for others to see how generous they are or what great taste they have. Or you gave them a gift, so they had to get you a gift. These motives taint a gift no matter how big or expensive it is.
On the other hand, if a gift is motivated by love, it really doesn't matter what it is; we still appreciate it. How many of us have made things for our parents, maybe in Art class or Shop, and whether or not it looked nice, they displayed it for the world to see, because they knew the motivation was love.
These verses from 1 John tell us the motive behind God's gift was love. John says, "This is how God showed His love among us - - - that God sent His Son." So the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas was the manifestation of God's love, and that love didn't come in response to our love. It wasn't like God said, "Okay, you gave me something, now I'll give you something, too." This gift was initiated by God.
There are many reasons God sent His Son. His Son would reveal God’s nature. His Son would bring salvation. His Son would bring Him glory. But the greatest and sweetest reason God sent His Son is that He loves us. You might even say He'd rather die than live without us. A couple weeks ago, I said, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it. Whenever you want to talk to Him, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. Face it - - God's crazy in love with you.”
God knows us perfectly. All things are open and laid before Him: our darkest secrets, our deepest shame, our stormy past, our worst thoughts, our hidden motives, our vilest imagination, even our vain attempts to cover it all up and appear to be something we're not. God sees all this, and yet He still loved us enough to send His Son.