Faithlife
Faithlife

Christmas 04 Sunday PM

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" After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." (Matthew 2:1-12, NIV) [1]

The Best Gifts

1.      Relative to the Christian the best gifts are related to the act of worship. 

"But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22, NIV) [2]

6 With what shall I come before the Lord

and bow down before the exalted God?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God. [3]

Gift giving for the Magi involved worship – clearly this was the purpose of their visit.

2.      The best gifts are a reflection of our familiarity with the person to whom we give.  (D. Wheaton Christmas gift)  There are times when the gifts that we give reveal our lack of interest in another person.  The Magi were students of the baby before He was born.  Herod could easily have discovered the same truths relative to the Messiah but he had no interest higher than his own.

3.      The best gifts come from our treasure.  It’s difficult to give from this area of our lives.  We take from what is most valuable to us and give to God.

The scripture says that they opened their treasure and gave.  Have you ever opened your treasure before God and allowed Him to pick his gift?  What would He pick if you were to do that this evening?

The best gifts are not the most expensive ones in the store.  While they impress for the moment, it's the lasting ones that make an impression. The gifts on this list cost almost no money, but have great value. When you give one of these, you are giving a priceless gift - yourself.

Gifts you can give:

1.  The gift of listening. One of the greatest things you can do for another person is to listen without interrupting, daydreaming, or thinking about your next leap into the conversation.

2.  The gift of compliment or encouragement. Help people reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right or well. Compliment children for listening, for their smile, for giving a hug, or for sharing. Vow to compliment your spouse every day. Compliment co-workers, store clerks, and your    pastor.

3.  The gift of showing affection. Demonstrate the love you feel deep inside with hugs, kisses, a gentle squeeze of the hand, pats on the back, and smiles.

4.  The gift of laughter. Everyone loves to laugh. Try to see the humor in day-to-day living. Develop the ability to laugh at yourself. Don't take things so seriously.

5.  The gift of cheerfulness. Decide to have a good day - no matter what. This means no  complaining, no feeling sorry for yourself, no nasty comments, and no screaming. Your gift of   cheerfulness will be precious for everyone around you.

6.  The gift of doing a favor. Help with the dishes, type a letter, run an errand, or watch the eighbor's kids.  Volunteer to help a co-worker finish a project or bring cookies to share with the office. Most important, have the attitude and willingness to help out another person in spite  of your busy schedule.

7.  The gift of contact. Write notes as simple as Thinking of you today. Telephone or send birthday greetings. Make short phone calls if someone is having an especially trying time. Reach out with support and encouragement.

8.  The gift of acceptance. Relax. Accept with fortitude the things you can't change in your life, and what others can't change in their lives. Enjoy people for who they are and relate to them in the present.

9.  The gift of prayer. This is the finest gift you can give.  Pray for people with full compassion and concern. Pray for them when they are in need and when they are experiencing blessings. God wants to be a part of every person's life. Pray particularly for those who don't know Christ as their Savior. Be persistent in your prayers for them.

From Alternatives For Simple Living, copyright (c) 1999. Alternatives' mission is "to equip people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly." Call 1-800-821-6153 for a free catalog. For more information contact Alternatives, PO Box 2857, Sioux City, IA 51107-0837, phone: 712-274-8875, fax: 712-274-1402, email:    Alternatives@SimpleLiving.org, web site:http://www.simpleliving.org


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[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[2] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

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