The Gifts

Christmas is approaching quickly

For whatever reason, Christmas is hitting differently this year

o   Maybe it is with the addition of all the grandchildren

o   Maybe it is related to the losses over the last few years

o   Maybe it is just this crazy world and everything that is going on

My whole feeling about Christmas this year could be demonstrated by the Christmas tree that we had up until yesterday

We had an artificial tree – we gave that to Johnna one year I think

With COVID and the last 2 years and the price of trees, well this is what we had – 

o   The last couple days it made me giggle, sort of

o   If I am being honest, with Christmas only 2 weeks from today, I just was not feeling it, kind of like this tree

But sometimes, when I feel that disconnect, sometimes I have to get back to the basics

o   Put on some praise music, or even dare I say, Christmas music

o   And more importantly, in preparing for this message – getting into the Word.

o   And praying as well, thanking God for all that he has done for me and the people in my life

But you can’t really think about Christmas and not think about gifts

o   It’s part of our tradition and culture

I got to thinking about some of God’s gifts

o   The creation of this world first and foremost

Without God, there would be nothing – and this scripture is a gift, at least to me, that so eloquently says so:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Absolutely beautiful and truth.

In Genesis, we can see that he decided that he would make mankind

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

God gave us the gift of something that never existed before – US! 

Adam and Eve get a bad rap, we all know what happened, but when I try to imagine what a beautiful gift of life that they were given, to be born without sin? How amazing would that have been? To just be and have that heavy presence of God – how amazing would that have been.

But as we know, they disobeyed God – they threw the Gift of God away, which seems to be a pattern of so many in the bible, amen?

I think to another time in the bible where God had freed His people in a completely amazing way, with signs of His power and His love for them – things that they had experienced in a very real way.

o   They had seen all the pain that God had brought on to Pharaoh and his people, they had real experience.

o   As they were fleeing Egypt and Pharaoh is chasing them, when there seems no way out, what happens?

Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

A little later in this chapter, we see that God would close the sea back up after they had reached safety and swallowed up their pursuers, amazing!

Fast forward a bit, and we see that the same people that God has freed, fed them, protected them, well:

Exodus 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

They basically discarded the gifts from God. And that is the pattern I see in the bible – God gives, and people break the relationship. God does Good, and people throw it away. Am I saying that I am better than those people in the bible, no – it just seems to be part of human nature.

During this gift giving time in our present world, it kind of reminds me of my Mom.

o   Ornaments – could be any gift that you make for someone really – a sweater, a Afghan,

o   It took resources.

o   It took time, it was not completed in 15 minutes.

o   It was done with love.

o   It was meant to be enjoyed. 

o   Maybe it took precision.

o   At times, it was sacrificial, I can tell you that my mom actually drew blood many times.

And then there comes that time when you go to whomever house it is, and in the case of my mom, they have their tree up

o   You look to see if it is there, no?

o   Maybe it is on the other side of the tree.

o   Maybe, maybe it is on the back of the tree.

o   Maybe it is over here on a wreath – nope.

o   Maybe it is in a bowl with other ornaments.

That is when you realize, that they either have thrown the thing out or in an act of guilt – donated it to good will

In either case, the gift was rejected, it was tossed aside without a true understanding of the value of the gift

And I can see that mankind has done this repeatedly to God, from the beginning right up to this very moment in time.

And as we enter this time of praising and worshipping God for the birth of Jesus, it is a good reminder that God gives the best gifts of all, amen?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

What a glorious gift! Jesus Christ himself is the gift, an opportunity to know Christ Jesus – and not in some very cold and stand-offish relationship.

A relationship to know him as a friend, to have very real and personal relationship with Him

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

And the gift of Christ is a gift that is alive and has so much to offer us

Like what? I am glad you asked!

o   Eternal life!

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

o   We can have peace in our lives.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I don’t know about you, but this world is complicated. People are messy. Family can be messy. Work can be messy. Actually, every facet of our lives can be messy and complicated, and challenging, and did I say messy? The gift of Jesus can give us wisdom to navigate this life.

(AMP) James 1:2 Consider it nothing but joy, my [b]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.

Jesus is right there beside us to navigate this very crazy world, to give us the wisdom to make decisions, to get us through the circumstances and not leave us in them. I praise God, not for who I was, but where he is taking me to be in Him. Hallelujah and amen. 

And we know that every gift from God is good, amen?

Not like work gifts/elephant gifts

o   Cheap

o   No meaning or useless

o   Origin

§  Siam or Thailand

§  So highly prized were white elephants that if one was discovered, it immediately belonged to the King.

·       But they were useless.

·       Deemed sacred, they could not be worked.

·       They were expensive, requiring food and housing.

·       Cunning kings of Siam would give them away to whomever displeased them, forcing them to be ruined financially.

o   But God does not give gifts like that, does He?

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

o   God does not make junk, and he does not give junk.

o   But there is something that is critical to consider about God’s gift, and that is do you receive it?

o   The bible is pretty clear on what you have to do, but in order to get there, you have to receive the gift of Jesus.

Since this is Christmas and because of the season, there may be some that be looking for Jesus, they may not understand what all this relationship talk is about, but they are looking


o   Maybe you have been hurt by the church in the past.

o   Maybe there was a preacher that did something that offended you

o   Maybe there are things that happened in your life, and you blame God

o   Maybe you have a hard time calling Jesus friend because you had a spouse, a parent, or a child that you lost.

o   My friends, God didn’t do any of that, but He can help you get through it all.

o   Maybe you feel that you are too – or maybe you have been told you

§  Guilty

§  Dirty

§  Bad

§  Damaged

§  Hopeless

§  Worthless


He wants to give you that gift of relationship. He wants you know Him as a friend. He wants you to know that He is someone you can talk with, someone you can confide in and seek counsel from.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

That is the gift of God – relationship, and you have a choice set before you – like a gift, you can receive it, all of it, or you can throw it in the trash. Throw ornament It really is that simple, receive the gift of Jesus or throw it in the trash with all the other things in your life that you reject.

How do you receive the gift from God, it is in His Word

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

o And because God is like that, your decision will not only impact you in this moment, no, it is so much more than that:

Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Christmas is such an encouraging time of year, the world, or at least some of it – is taking time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus – brought to the earth as a baby, born of a virgin, fulfilling prophecy to provide a path of restoration.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

o   This is a different kind of message than I usually do.

o   I was going to talk about the gifts that the wise men brought.

o   Like the gold

§  It was valuable.

§  It represented royalty.

o   Like the frankincense and myrrh

§  It too was valuable; it still sells for $6,000 a liter to this day

§  And the way that frankincense and myrrh are harvested:

·       Cuts are made to trees.

·       They are cut seven times.

·       It is the healing process that produces.

·       Did you know that the grade “A” qualifications are that it is to be clear, and white, and without blemish.


But as I was reading and praying, I realized that compared to the gift of God, there is nothing that can compare than the gift that God gave the world. And the Maggi knew that as well.

Matthew 2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him:

o   They fell down and worshipped Him

o   Nothing compares to the gift we have in Jesus

Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

o   Thank you Lord for your gift.

o   There is more to the story, it’s all in His Word

o   It is full of

§  Hope

§  Healing

§  Truth

What can we give God?

I think the greatest thing that we can do this year, during this season, is to share the gift of Jesus




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