12 words till Christmas · Gifts · Giving · Love

2 words till Christmas… give…

Give… an Advent word…

the word given… with just 2 days… till Christmas…

The Christmas tradition of give…
is born out of the Nativity story…

God gave Mary the blessing of bearing His Son…
she gave Him herself for His use…

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord,
let it be to me according to your word.”
Luke 1:38 ESV

Joseph gave up his reputation…
to give the Savior a flesh and blood dad…

…Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame,
resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things,
behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…
Matthew 1:19-20 ESV

The shepherds gave encouragement…
by going to see what the angel revealed…

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been
told them concerning this child. … Mary treasured up all these things,
pondering them in her heart.
Luke 2:17, 19 ESV

And the wise men… they gave gifts…

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother,
and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures,
they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11 ESV
Sometimes I think I’ve created a monster… when it comes to giving Christmas gifts within my immediate family…

In recent years… I’ve tried to pull back on the material…
focus more on the spiritual…
the true meaning of Christmas…
but giving gifts… has deep roots…

When I was little…
my mom made Christmas BIG…!
presents… presents… presents…
under the tree…
from Santa…
stocking-stuffers…

With both parents raised in the Great Depression…
making sure their children had more…
was important…

Jesus…
even though He should have been the center of attention…
was relegated to the shadows…
in a small hand-carved Nativity scene…

We didn’t attend church as a family…
no Christmas Eve service…
no communion…
no Nativity story read from the Bible…

But gifts… they were front and center…
so that’s how it went with my kids…
give a BIG Christmas…

Now it feels out of control…

Gifts have started piling…

None of these are from me…
my adult children… now connect Christmas… with giving gifts…
(and… Yes… these should be under the tree…
but it’s still not decorated…
and… Yes… I know it’s 2 days till Christmas…
and… Yes… it’s still messy…!)

The wise men’s giving of gifts… was an outpouring of worship… to the newborn King…


they fell down and worshiped him… 
opening their treasures…
they offered him gifts…


John Piper… in his daily readings for Advent… emphasizes this view…

The gifts are intensifiers of desire for Christ himself in much the same way fasting is. When you give a gift to Christ like this, it’s a way of saying something like this:

The joy that I pursue is not the hope of getting rich with things from you. I have not come to you for your things but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up things in the hope of enjoying you more, not the things. By giving to you what you do not need and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, “You are my treasure, not these things.”

— John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

The wise men didn’t give because He needed…
the wise men gave because they desired Him…

The give of Christmas…
is not about the material…
it’s about love…
because the One who started it all…
gave…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him. …”
John 3:16-17 ESV
God wrapped up His Son… Himself…
the Infinite… Uncontainable… Creator…
into a tiny gift… a Babe…
in order to give the world… a Savior…
because He loves us so much…
He couldn’t leave us lost…
He desires us to come back… to Him…
He gave… and still gives…
to reveal His great love…
And I suppose that’s what’s at the heart of all the crazy buying and giving in my family roots… the desire to show love… to bless… to make happy…
But the real question in all this giving…
What are you giving…? to show your desire…? for Him…?
because… really… without Him… we have nothing…
We love… because He first loved us…
and we give… because He gave…

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