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Christmas Shopping
II Corinthians 9:15



The tradition of gift-giving extends back to the Wise men bringing gifts to the Christ-child in the manger. We all know how they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

During a school play near London, three six-year-old boys acted out the role of the wise men. As they presented their gifts at the nativity scene, each boy stepped forward and stated what they were offering to Christ. The first held out his arms and said, “Gold.” The second boy knelt down and said, “Myrrh.” The last boy stepped forward and declared, “Frank sent this.”

Gift giving is a tradition that goes back to the Wise men, it is a good tradition I believe, although the true meaning of Christmas can be overshadowed by giving gifts.

In 1999 the average American family spent $1,008 on Christmas gifts. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Americans charge more than $150 billion dollars on credit card debt.

Christmas shopping is a great tradition, but it can also be a very trying time. So today, I want to help you out with this year’s shopping. I want to give you a few pointers, as I take you shopping with me.  Right about now my wife is fainting, but several others look very eager!

I don’t know about you, but when we go shopping we go to Wal-Mart. Most years on black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart makes about $2 - 3 billion dollars!

When you walk through the front door of Wal-Mart, who is the first person you see? The greeter. Now he or she is there for a reason, to welcome you with a smile to the store. Now, I have heard of people getting in fights over gifts, etc. So, in order to help you out this shopping year, I want you to go up to that greeter and get a smiley face sticker. This is to help you keep a smile on your face and remember that this is supposed to be a happy time.

All right, you’ve got the smiley face now and you are ready to shop. I want to give you five suggestions this year when you go shopping.

 

The best gift would be:


I. A Personal Gift

When we shop our gift should be a personal gift.  We are not shopping for ourselves. I usually head straight to electronics to get some gadget. But my wife would not appreciate it if I got her a new set of high impedance woofers. That just does not interest her. She may want clothes, but she does not want a new camouflage hunting suit. You see, you must buy the person you are shopping for a personal gift. A gift that fits the person you are shopping for.

God gave a personal gift by giving his Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). He came for everyone. He came for you! He did not just come for the rich. He did not just come for the poor. He did not just come for white people or black. He did not just come for people from the United States. He came for everyone. Red, yellow, black & white. He came and died for you personally...and He would have done it if you were the only person on the planet!

When Jesus came to this earth He became human. He didn’t have to. He was God. When He lived here on earth He was completely human. He felt heartache. He knew loneliness. He was tempted. He felt hunger. He knew what it was like to be tempted. Tho’ 100% God, He was completely human as well. The nails hurt His hands just like they would hurt yours. So why did He do it? He did it because he looked across time and he saw you. He saw your heart, He saw how you needed a Savior. So He gave the gift of Himself.

His gift is personal, for each and every one of us.

II. A Practical Gift

When we go Christmas shopping for those we love, it doesn’t have to be the best or the most expensive gift, as the old saying goes ‘it’s the thought that counts’. Our gifts should be practical, not as one lady said to her husband, “This year let’s give each other more practical gifts like socks and fur coats.”

Two young boys were discussing the upcoming Christmas season and all of the toys they hoped to receive. One kid explained to the other, “Money can’t buy happiness, you know. To be happy, you have to
convert the money into toys.”

You know what it’s like to get a gift that you really don’t want or can’t use. You see them in the stores. All of us have got them. Some people buy gifts like fruit cake and so many other wastes of money. Besides, what can you use fruit cake for? You can’t eat it, it’s so nasty. I heard one man say fruit cake was so bad he tried to give it to his dog but he wouldn’t eat it, so finally he discovered that it makes a great door stop.

Jesus has given us the most practical gift of all, eternal life for those who turn to Him. It is something that we all need. It is something that we all must have. Without it we die and go to hell. With it, we live eternally. How much more practical could you get?

III. A Pleasing Gift

The gifts that we give should be something that would please the one we are giving the gift to. I wouldn’t want to give my daughter a dictionary because I know that is not a gift that would please her. We all know what happens to gifts that we don’t really care for-they get put on a shelf somewhere.

God gave me an unspeakably pleasing gift in Jesus. What more could I ask for?


Matthew 7:9-11
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father...


IV. Permanent Gift

The gift that we give should be something that is permanent and of lasting value. Not something cheaply made that will break the first day it is used.

ill.--A woman kept a very tight lid on the amount of money she spent on Christmas gifts. Each year when her family gathered with other  relatives she always made sure the purchasing cost remained a big secret. This worked fine until her daughter was old enough to start talking. On this particular Christmas the little girl’s uncle started prying for the price. The young niece told her uncle, “I’m not allowed to tell you how much we paid, but I can tell you we got it at the dollar store.”

Also it should be something that will at least keep the interest beyond Christmas day alone. We have all seen children who get all kinds of nice expensive gifts for Christmas and by the end of the day they are playing with the boxes and paper.

God gave us the permanent Gift of eternal life (John 10:28-"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”) There is really nothing else that we could ever ask for or desire that is higher than this gift. Jesus laid down His own self so that we could have this permanent gift. He wrapped himself in human flesh and took on man. He bore our sins and took our shame. The King of all Kings was born in a little stable. What a welcome to our earth. He did all this so that we could have this permanent gift.

V. Purchased Gift

It’s always a good idea to purchase the gift you’re going to buy and not just walk out of the store with it. SO make sure you pay for your gifts!

However, Jesus has already purchased the greatest gift for us and that is of salvation.


Romans 5:15
...so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

What is the best gift you could give this Christmas?

An evangelist held a service, at the close of which a little girl presented a bouquet of flowers, the first that spring had brought forth. He asked, "Why do you give me these flowers?" She answered, "Because I love you." "Do you bring the Lord Jesus such gifts of your love at times?" he inquired. "Oh," said the little one, with an angelic smile, "I give myself to Him!"

 

What is the best gift you could give this Christmas? Your heart!


That surely is the highest kind of giving, and without it, all other giving is in vain.


Just as we give gifts during this Christmas season, Christ Jesus has given the ultimate gift for our sins. His gift is personal, practical, pleasing, permanent, and he has already purchased it for us. And just as we accept gifts for ourselves this Christmas, we should accept the gift of eternal life though Jesus Christ. So this Christmas, if you have not already accepted Jesus as your Savior, do so today, for this is the real reason for the season.

I hope that these five little pointers will be a help with your Christmas shopping this year. More importantly, I hope that you will accept the free gift from God sent to you personally. The gift of his Son!

 

[based on idea by Jon Earls]

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