Faithlife Sermons

Christmas Eve 2020

The Gift  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This was our 2020 Christmas Eve message on offering Jesus the gift of worship just like the Magi did.

Notes
Transcript

Intro

Gift giving is one of those things that depending on your love language you either hate it, or you love it.
For instance, gift giving is not my love language, but it is Katelyn’s and so if I want her to feel loved by me, I just need to get her a little gift now and then and it makes her feel like I care and I am paying attention. And likewise, like all of us, Katelyn speaks her own love language and loves to give me gifts.
She is really good at it. She comes up with really unique gifts for people, very thoughtful and personal. Me, I just say throw them a gift card and call it a day, to her that would be absurd because she wants the other person to know she loves them by the attention she puts into the gifts she chooses for them.
And while she really enjoys picking the perfect gift, I hate it. It stresses me out to no end. I am terrible at it. I am getting better, I try to listen more throughout the year and if Katelyn says something about something she might like to have I put it in my phone because I will forget if I don’t.
Gift giving just isn’t my thing, but that is no excuse to not try to grow in that area and so I am working on it. And on a side note married people, I am telling you, if there is one peice of advice that I could give you, I share this with couples I do pre-marital counseling with, it is this.
Learn your spouse’s love language, and learn to speak it regularly.
I mean it. When Katelyn and I took the time to learn each other’s language and then become intentional in the way we speak that language to each other it made a world of difference in our marriage; in the way we communicate and in turn, feel loved by each other.
But that is not my main point for tonight. But we are talking about gifts, and more specifically Christmas gifts tonight.

Power in the Text

If you have been following along with us throughout the month of December you know that I have been speaking out of a message series titled “The Gift”. Each week we have been coming back to the account of the Magi (or wisemen as we have come to call them) who came to Jesus to present gifts to him.
Each week we have been looking at each of the 3 gifts that they gave and talking about their significance.
Frankincense: High Priest
Myrrh: Suffering servant
Gold: A King like no other
I want to read this passage to you for a final time tonight.
Matthew 2:10-12 NLT 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
So once again let’s paint this picture. Here you have the Magi, these were educated and likely wealthy men from the east who God had some way gotten a hold of, we don’t know how. But they were following this star to get to who they believed to be the newborn King of the Jews.
So look at what these wise men did. Well they got Christmas, they understood what the whole point of it was. They realized what was more important than anything else and the thing that they realized was that it was a time for worship.
The Bible tells us that when they entered the house and saw Jesus the first thing they did was worship him. They opened their gift boxes and handed Jesus these gifts as an act of worship.
Let me ask you a question...
What would make this a perfect Christmas for you?
A brand new car? How about that new big screen TV you have been wanting? Or, they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, maybe you are hoping your husband will get you that jewelary you have been hoping for?
Maybe you have been dropping hints and leaving magazine ads lay around the house or leave your Amazon wish list up on the computer so your spouse sees it when they get online.
Hey I told you about my gift giving abilities, I would open that up, I wouldn’t eve look at what it was, click and done. 2 days baby.
I hope I get that gift I really want, or I hope they enjoy the gift I put all this thought into and love it as much as I have loved getting it for them. That would be the perfect Christmas

Big Idea

Well listen. All of these things are going to in their way disappoint. But here is something that if you will do this, what the wise men did, this can be the best Christmas of all. And that is worship.
Because here is the hard truth: Everyone worships at Christmas.
I don’t care if they have a nativity set up in their home or yard or if they don’t put up a single decoration, everyone is worshiping at Christms
I don’t care you are a Christian, or an atheist. A believer or a skeptic. A democrat or a republican. Everyone regardless of who you are or what you believe worships at Christmas.
You may sitting here thinking, I don’t know if that is right. But look, I didn’t say that all of them are worshiping the God of the Bible.
Everybody worships. Whether you believe in God or not, you worship.

Why This Matters

Everyone bows before an alter. They may not call it God or Jesus but there is something they are passionate about. They worship that object. They worship that thing that they can hold in their hand or that almighty dollar. That is their God.
Other people worship their own bodies. They never found an outfit they didn’t look good in. They never met a mirror they didn’t love.
Others worship the God of their own making. What do I mean by that. What I mean is they might say something like “Well, my god would never judge a person for dowing something wrong. My god is all loving and all caring and my god is this and my god is that.” And in effect they have created a god in their own image.
But here is the problem. You can bow at these altars but none of these gods are going to save you. None of these gods are going to help you. And quite frankly none of these gods are worthy of your worship. There is only one God who is worthy of your worship and that is the Lord Jesus Christ whom we celebrate tonight.
The Magi went to see this King who had been prophesied about throughout the Old Testament by numerous prophets spanning generations. And when they went they knew they better not show up empty handed. If they were going to worship the King of all kings they better not show up empty handed.
But here we are tonight celebrating the birth of Jesus. How totally inappropriate for us to come empty handed. Well what do we give to God? What does God want from us? I will tell you what He wants friends. He wants you. That is the gift you can give to God tonight as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. You can give yourself.
Paul says in Romans 12, “I urge you therefore brothers by the mercies of God present yourself to God as a living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable which is your reasonable service.” Another translation of that same verse says, “Here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”
Bring your life to God. Bring your time to God. Bring your future to God. Say, “Lord this is what I offer to you.”
What are you worshiping tonight? Who are you worshiping tonight?

Application/Candle Lighting

When Jesus came 2,000 years ago, he set a spark, a flicker of hope for a dying world. And that flicker of hope set off a chain of events that has changed the world.
John describes what was happening in the spiritual world when Jesus was born in the physical world.
John 1:1-13 NLT In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. 6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
Light candle.
Jesus is the light John is describing here. When the world was at its darkest, and when it seemed as if sin had won and God had lost, the light came to expel the darkness.
Paul put it this way in Romans 5:6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
And the light that Jesus brought didn’t leave with him when he went back to heaven, but rather it stayed and with each new believer the Holy Spirit began to spread from one person to the next and that light began to multiply.
Sing Silent Night as the candles are lit.
Just as it is today, with each candle being lit in this room. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
What good is a light if you cover it up or refuse to let it shine? Darkness though it seems oppressive and all consuming, is really quite weak compared to light.
For even the smallest of flame can be seen in the darkness, in fact it can never get so dark that the darkness overcomes the light. The only way the darkness takes over is when we extinguish our light. Blow them out.
We are the light, wherever we go, the light goes with us when we allow it to shine. Don’t cover your light, don’t blow it out by the choices you make. Rather let it shine brightly because the world is lost without it.

Closing Prayer

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