Quick. . . name all of the presents you received for Christmas last year.
If you received toys, do you still play with them? If you received an ipad, does it still work? If you received an Xbox 360, do you still own it? If you received clothes, do you still wear them? If you received exercise equipment, do you still work out? If you received money, did you spend it?
Why do we give presents to each other at Christmas? Traditionally, we say that we give them to symbolize the gifts that were given by the Magi in celebration of Christ’s birth. But the Magi gave their gifts TO Jesus, not to each other BECAUSE of Jesus. “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, frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:10-11 (NIV)
Jesus wants one gift from us: “If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15 (NIV)
His commandments are simple: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Jesus also instructs us to invest our lives in other people: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
At Christmas time, remember that God has already given us the most precious gift of all, his son Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (NIV)