Summary: Suggestions about a Christmas gift for God.
What to Give the God who has everything!
Ps. 116:12 "What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?"
Reflection: Christmas is a time for giving. It’s a time when God’s gift to us motivates us to give to others. It is God’s nature to give, and since we are made in His image, part of that drive is in each of us. How strange it is that we “Celebrate the birthday of Jesus” and give gifts to everyone but Him!
Let’s look at that familiar Christmas story and recognize some of those early “Christmas gifts”.
1. ZACHARIAS: (Luke 1:5-25, 57-80)
A. GOD HAD SPECIAL PLANS FOR JOHN. Lk 1:15-17
B. JOHN WAS ALSO A GIFT FROM GOD! (Lk 1:13,14) “thou shalt have joy and gladness”
Zacharias’ gift was to raise and return his son John for God’s purposes.
2. THE MAGI:
A. THEY LOOKED BEYOND THE STAR TO THE SAVIOR.
B. THEY LOOKED BEYOND THE JOURNEY TO THE JOY.
C. THEY LOOKED BEYOND SELF INTEREST TO SACRIFICIAL INVOLVEMENT.
God gave to the Magi insight and they returned that gift by acting on God’s revelations.
3. THE SHEPHERDS: Luke 2:8-20
A. THEY LEFT THEIR SHEEP TO INVESTIGATE THE ANGEL’S MESSAGE.
B. THEY SHARED THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH EVERYONE THEY MET. Vs 17
The shepherd’s gift was the gift of sharing what God had revealed to them with others!
4. MARY AND JOSEPH:
A. NOTICE GOD’S PREPARATION FROM ETERNITY PAST.
(Gal 4:4,5) "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
1) God orchestrated the events to correspond to prophecy. (His character was at stake!)
> Born a Jew: (Gen. 26:4)
> Born from the tribe of Judah: (Gen 49:10) "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
> Of the Line of David. (Isa. 9: 6,7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
NOTE: God preserved the line of David from annihilation several times. (2 Kings 11:1,2)
> Born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
NOTE: God moved the heart of a heathen emperor to proclaim a census to accomplish this!
> Born of a virgin. (Isa 7:14) "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
B. NOTICE THE PARTNERSHIP
1) God Had To Find A Willing Woman To Fulfil The Prophecies.
> Bear the shame and false accusations. (John 8:41) "We be not born of fornication;"
> Risk losing her fiancé. (Matthew 1:19)
> Risk losing her family. (Where was Mary’s mother at the birth?)
> Risk losing her life. (Deut. 22:23,24)
> Endure the trip to Bethlehem. (Almost 90 MILES!)
> Bear the toil of seeing her son “despised and rejected of men.”
(Luke 2:35) "(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,)
2) GOD HAD PREPARED MARY! Notice her response:
(Luke 1:38) "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
> She knew the Lord. “The Lord”
> She recognized her responsibility. “The handmaid”
> She understood the significance of the word of God. “According to thy word.”
> She responded instantly.
Mary and Joseph give the gift of Surrender.
CONCLUSION: My children often come to me and ask “Dad, what do you want for Christmas?”
They of course mean “What can I buy you.” One of my “standard answers” is “Wise and obedient children” but they usually answer something like “DAAAD, that costs too much.”
What does God really need?
From Zacharias: (His son) Give me back what I graciously give to you.
From the Magi: (Their Sight) Act on the Light I give you.
From the Shepherds: (Sharing) Share with others what I reveal to you.
From Mary and Joseph: Gave the gift of themselves.
"My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." (Prov 23:26)
“Our reservations are the damnations of our consecrations.”
William Booth (1829-1912)
When Cortez landed at Vera Cruz in 1519 to begin his conquest of Mexico with small force of 700 men, he purposely set fire to his fleet of 11 ships. His men on the shore watched their only means of retreat sinking to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. With no means of retreat, there was only one direction to move, forward into the Mexican interior to meet whatever might come their way. In paying the price for being Christ's disciple, you too must purposefully destroy all avenues of retreat. Resolve that whatever the price for being His follower, you will have to pay it.