The Christmas season is in full swing, it seemed to have started much earlier this year. Gift buying starts in a frenzy on Black Friday and builds and builds until Dec. 24 at around 10PM it suddenly stops. And we’ve spent our cash and filled our credit cards. But what was the cost of Christmas Gifts?
According to a study performed by the National Retail Federation, People will be spending in 2018 more money on gifts than they did in 2017. Gallup reports that adults estimate that they will spend approximately $885 on gifts this year.
33% expect to spend at least $1000 on gifts.
22% expect to spend between $500 and $999.
29% expect gift spending to be between $100 and $499.
8% say that they will spend nothing for gifts
3% plan to spend less than $100.
5% are unsure.
APPROX. $885, per person
But was the cost of Christmas Gifts, worth it?? Maybe. Can you recall for me 1 gift you received last Christmas? One gift given 2000 years ago was worth more than $885 and is remembered as the greatest gift ever. Today is the first Sunday of Advent and we, the church, wait in expectation for the birthday of the Saviour, Jesus. Over the next 4 Advent Sundays we are going to look at 4 gifts given to us from God to us because Jesus was born. These gifts, unlike our usual Christmas gifts, keep on giving, never wear out, never grow cold or never lessen in benefit to us. But we can forget them and our memories can fade about them nevertheless they are invaluable to us.
Today, God’s gift to you and I is A GIFT OF A SONG
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
A Song, it’s about an example of a song, the one God gave Mary.
And it’s about the song God gives to each of us, and we can celebrate this gift especially at Christmas time.
When we think of singing, we associate singing with gladness and joy. Breaking out in singing happens because we have joy, happiness on the inside and it overflows into singing. Last Sunday we showed that God wants us to be joyful and filled with gladness,
“Shout for joy,
… worship the Lord with gladness,
…come before Him with joyful songs…”
And here are some of the types of songs gives us, gives His children to sing
It’s redemption song. I’m redeemed, bought back by God. Not like Bob Marley’s redemption song but truly and totally the real redemption song.
It’s freedom song. I’m free from the power of sin and free in Christ.
It’s comfort’s song I have a Father and He knows my name.
It’s burdens are lifted song, The burden bearer has come for you
It’s a ‘guilt free’ song. He bore my guilt and now I’m free from it.
It’s I’ll never be lonely again song He will never leave.
It’s ‘I am truly loved song’.
We can all sing these songs if we believe in the Christ of Christmas . Shall I go on about the songs, about mercy upon me song, about grace surrounds me song, about the peace song He gives, about I’ve got a friend song.
The songs God gives are available to each of us, they are plenteous, numerous, overflowing, abundant and bountiful. But you must sing them, God gives, but we sing. It’s your choice.
When Mary hears Elizabeth’s song, she breaks into a song, a song from her heart flowing through her mouth. Some 2000 years later we hear her song.
Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
This is Mary’s song, it’s also called the Magnificat
3 parts to her song,
First, it’s about Mary.
All praise coming to her from Elizabeth is redirected to God.
Mary sings that God is mindful of me. (He knows my name –wow)
It’s about the lowly, and you can include Mary in that group.
He, God, has lifted the humble up and He fills them.
It’s about Mary’s people, ISRAEL.
God remembers His promise, the promise to Abraham and that his descendant would bless the entire world, yes, it’s Christmas and Jesus the Saviour is born
Let’s talk about the song God gives to each of us, YOUR SONG
I have no idea if Mary could sing or not, all of us are in the 2 category area of some can sing, some can make a joyful noise. However, a true song from inside, a spiritual song, is not in the elegance of the voice but an expression from the heart. Remember when we looked at speaking / singing to one another with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your hearts to God? In order for us to sing, be joyful we need to be thankful, thankful in all things and then follow that up by thinking on that which is good, lovely, noble of good report.
If you want to sing the song God has given you then be thankful and stare at the goodness of God on you. What God has given you, what God has provided you, what God does for you. That’s the secret of having joy and having a song to sing.
God fills the hungry. YOU SING
God lifts the fallen YOU SING
God can give peace. YOU SING
God accompanies the lonely YOU SING
God’s mercy covers YOU SING
God’s grace surrounds YOU SING
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Where is this joy found that implants our own song in our hearts?
Not in unbelief, Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”
Not in pleasure, Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”
Not in money, Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Not in position and fame, Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”
Not in military glory, Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent because, he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
Where then is real joy found? The answer is simple, in God alone, in the song He gives us. But we must sing it.
You have a song in your heart but it could be drowned out by the cares of this world, by burdens and difficulties by losses and crosses. Lift your eyes above them, look in thankfulness at all that God is and does for you. Your muted soul song will unshackle itself and break into joy and gladness as you recall the goodness of God to you. That’s Christmas, this gift of a song. Can you hear your song, do you sing it, do you share it.
The gift of a song.