Luke 2:7
What Will You Give?

Everyone knows that, in our culture, Christmas is a about giving and gifts.  I
know you are giving to others.  Families invest hours of time and small fortunes
to find the right Christmas gifts for mother, father, son, daughter, brother,
sister, grandparents, friends, and so forth.  The question that always seems to
come to my mind is, "What have we given to Jesus?" It seems His stocking is always
the one that is empty.

Yet, it is obvious that God wants us to give His Son something.  In re-reading
the Christmas story again, I noticed that every story was a request from the
Father to give something to His Son.  Most of the time, the request was not given
directly with words, but it was implied in the circumstances.

Let me illustrate while I ask the question, "What will you give?"

    I. \\#Luke 2:1-7\\ God asked the innkeeper for a place to lay His Son.
        A. We often give the innkeeper a hard time because the Scripture says,
            "there was no room for them in the inn."
            1. However, in the innkeeper’s defense, he gave what he had.
            2. There was a reason he was out of rooms—past generations of
                Bethlehemites had to come to Bethlehem to register and pay taxes.
            3. While the phrase does demonstrate how the human heart can become
                so full of the wrong things that there is no room for Jesus, the
                innkeeper had a limited number of rooms and they had simply filled
                up BEFORE Mary and Joseph got there.
        B. Yet, of the innkeeper, I notice that he gave what he had.
            1. He had a stable.
            2. Perhaps it was a structure, perhaps it was a cave, but it had
                straw, a roof, and some kind of walls.
            3. And the innkeeper gave what he had—what God asked of him—a place
                for His Son to be laid.
        C. In the scope of things that God will ask for, this was a small request
            and a small gift.
            1. Sometimes we make reference to "doing the least you can do."
                a. I would put this gift in the "least of" categories.
                b. I think to myself that if I saw a woman who about to deliver
                    a child and she needed a place to sleep, I would give her my
                    own bed and I would go sleep on the straw.
                c. You probably would too.
                d. But God did not make a direct request of this man. Maybe if he
                    had, he would have given more.
                c. Through circumstances, God asked the innkeeper for a little
                    room for His Son and the innkeeper gave it.
            2. One can always give more.
                a. In fact, it should be our goal to do so.
                b. Maybe God would ask you to give Jesus a little room.
                c. A little room in your heart, in your home, in your life.

   II. \\#Luke 2:8-20\\ God asked the shepherds for a little interest and the
        time to greet His Son.
        A. God sent angels to the shepherds with a notice and an invitation.
            1. The notice was that the Savior was born.
            2. The invitation was, "Come and see."  And those words are not used
                but when you tell a group where to find a baby and how to identify
                Him, you are inviting them to come.
        B. This required more than the request of the innkeeper.
            1. These shepherds had to leave their flocks in someone’s care.
            2. Then had to go to Bethlehem and find the Child.
                a. I notice that the angels do not describe WHERE the manager is
                    but do describe how to identify the Baby.
                b. Bethlehem was such a small city, it probably had only one
                    stable, but there might have been several newborns.
        C. So what did God ask of these shepherds?
            1. A little interest.
            2. A little time.
        D. Perhaps God is asking these of you.

  III. \\#Matt 2:1-11\\ God asked the wisemen for some effort and some of their
        wealth for His Son.
        A. Now we start to get to some of the more serious sacrifices.
            1. These men gave some effort.
                a. The Bible tells that they came from the east.

Matt 2:1  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the
king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

                    (1) The "east" is rather vague.
                    (2) Some think these men might have come from Persia, the
                         general area near where Israel had once been carried for
                         70 years of captivity.
                    (3) It is supposed that Israel having been captive in that
                         area before explains how the wisemen knew what the star
                         might mean.
                         (a) The Bible says they followed the star to Israel.
                         (b) That explain how they knew WHERE to go, but how did
                              know what that the star meant a King had been born?
                         (c) That would have required either an angelic messenger
                              or a previous teacher.
                         (d) If it was a previous teacher, they could have come
                              from the regions of Babylon or Persia.
                b. Suppose the wisemen did come from Persia.
                    (1) From Persia to Israel is around 850 miles.
                    (2) Can you imagine how much time, effort, and money would go
                         into making a trip like that, on camels?
                    (3) A camel can travel around 15 to 20 miles per day.
                    (4) Depending on how deep in Persia they might have been, the
                         trip probably took at least 45 to 90 days—and that is
                         just the traveling time.
            2. These men gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matt 2:11  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with
Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened
their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

                a. We know what gold is.  It is and always has been a valuable
                    form of wealth.
                b. Frankincense is a perfume made from a tree and used in
                    worshipping the Lord.
                    (1) It was used in the anointing oil \\#Ex 30:34\\.
                    (2) It was always offered with every meat offering
                         \\#Le 2:1\\.
                    (3) It was laid on the Table of Showbread with the twelve
                         loaves \\#Le 24:7\\.
                c. Myrrh is an oil.
                    (1) It was used as both a healing ointment and an embalming
                    (2) It was very expensive.
        B. By the way, these gifts have a symbolic significance.
            1. The gold represents Christ the King of the world.
            2. The frankincense represents Christ the Priest of the world.
            3. The myrrh represents Christ the Sacrifice and Healer of the world.
        C. So God asked and these men gave effort and riches to Christ.
            1. Effort, work
                a. What a rare gift for someone to give to Jesus today.
                b. Far too many say, "Let someone else do it," or just as common
                    and as unhelpful, "If I get around to it, I’ll do it."
                c. In the planning, traveling, and returning time, these men
                    probably gave a year of their life to the Lord.
                d. Why?
                    (1) Because God asked it of them.
                    (2) We may not know HOW God told them the star meant Israel
                         had a new King, but we can figure out WHY God told them.
                    (3) It was God again saying, "Come and see."
                e. What effort will you give to Jesus?
            2. Gold, frankincense, myrrh—wealth
                a. Some give.  Some do not.
                b. Some begrudge every dime that somehow makes it into the
                    offering plate, although they will gladly indebt themselves
                    to the hilt for every new toy and convenience they see.

   IV. God asked Joseph to give His wife to His Son.
        A. Now we are at the personal sacrifices.
        B. Personal is when God is asking for some thing or some one we love.
        C. God asked Joseph for his wife.

Matthew 1:18  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother
Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child
of the Holy Ghost.

            1. This was a direct request.  God sent an angel to Joseph.
            2. As far as we know, Joseph had only one wife his whole life.
            3. A wife is not something you share.
            4. But God sent word, "Will you give Me your wife to bear, nurture,
                and grow My Son?"
        D. At this point, Joseph and Mary were engaged.
            1. While most men are not as sentimental as women, they still have an
                idea of how important things are supposed to go.
            2. I assure you that it was not in Joseph’s plan to wed a pregnant
            3. Yet, once Joseph understood this was God’s request, the Bible

Matt 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had
bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

            4. That sounds immediate.
                a. Joseph woke up, got up, went to get Mary, and he married her.
                b. Not only did he adapt his wedding, marriage, and life plans,
                    but he gave himself to helping Mary in her ministry.
        E. Question:
            1. This is only to those of who have given as much as those I have
                mentioned have given.
                a. Those who have given Jesus some room…
                b. Those who have given Jesus some interest and time…
                c. Those who have given Jesus some effort and some wealth…
            2. If you have not given those things, you cannot answer this
            3. If you have, answer this question.
            4. How personal can God get in asking for things for His Son before
                you will quit giving them?
                a. Would you give Jesus a member of your family?
                b. Would you give Jesus your life?
                c. Joseph gave what God asked for.

    V. God asked Mary to give her self and her future to His Son.
        A. Now we have moved from the least, beyond both the serious and the
            personal.  Now God is asking for everything.

Luke 1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found
favour with God.
31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and
shalt call his name JESUS.
32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord
God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there
shall be no end.

        B. Let there be no question, Mary knew what being single and pregnant
            would cost her.
            1. her friends
            2. her reputation
            3. her body
            4. probably her present family
            5. probably her finance
            6. her future - Having a child, even God’s Child, is a long term
        C. God was asking Mary for her all.
            1. And her answer…

Luke 1:38 …be it unto me according to thy word.

            2. No time needed to think about it.
            3. No arguments.
            4. Just gentle compliance.
        D. I know the Catholics are wrong in deifying Mary, but let’s give credit
            where credit is due.  This was a dynamic, godly, faithful lady.
        E. If God asked you for your all for His Son, what would you say?
            1. If you are saved, He already has.
            2. If you are saved, you already answered.
                 a. You told Him you would give Him everything.
                 b. I hope you are at least trying to keep your word.

   VI. What we have here are five stories and five requests that fall into five
        categories, each one a little more difficult than the last.
        A. The least possible…
        B. A little interest and a little time…
        C. Effort and wealth…
        D. Personal - Some thing or some one we love…
        E. All
        F. But there is one more category.

  VII. Consider that most everyone that God asked to give, gave.
        A. There is one exception, King Herod.
            1. God asked the least of all from Herod.
            2. All He asked of him was directions.

Matt 2:1  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the
king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star
in the east, and are come to worship him.

        B. Now, I know that Herod gave the wisemen the directions for which they
            asked, but only because it served his own interest.
            1. He was going to let the wisemen locate Jesus and then he would
                send and have the Child killed.
            2. Herod was not giving to God.  He was giving to get.  That is called
            3. So, even though God asked for little from Herod, Herod could not
                even give that little bit without a selfish, wicked heart.
        C. So here is the one who refused to give God what He asked for His Son.
            1. Where do you suppose Herod is right now?
            2. Of course, no man knows for certain; but unless Herod repented on
                his death bed, Herod is in hell right now.

Question - What will you give?

We received a small story in a Christmas card yesterday. I abbreviated it to post
it on Facebook.  Let me share it with you.

Who Started Christmas?
After many hours of shopping with her two children, a young mother was running
out of patience. She had been in a dozen stores and up and down hundreds of isles
looking for the right gifts. Her children had cried for everything they had seen,
and she was being overwhelmed by the crowds, the rudeness, the expense, as well
as, the pressure to attend every party, prepare a variety of treats, decorate,
get out the Christmas cards, and so forth. The elevator was full but she pushed
inside with her kids in tow. As she did, she muttered, "Whoever started this
Christmas thing should be taken out and shot.

"A voice from the back of the elevator answered quietly. "Don’t worry. We already
crucified Him."  The rest of the elevator trip was quiet.

God has given us everything. What will you give to Jesus?

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