“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets.
-Matthew 7:7-12 (HCSB)
God is the supreme giver of gifts. The ultimate gift from God is Christ (John 3:16). What are the gifts that you are asking God for? Giving and receiving gifts was invented by God.
Christmastime is all the time with God. The word “Christmas” evokes thoughts of gifts and giving gifts. We have the greatest gift and we give gifts to one another in celebration of that gift.
Christmas also might mean Christ + Mass. Catholic Christians call their church meeting “Mass”. “Mass” is thought of to mean “Eucharistic service”, (the Catholic church service is usually a two-part affair consisting of communion and a Biblical exposition) from the Latin “messe”; but “mass” also comes from the late Latin, “missa”, as in “dismissal” (“to let go, send”), calling to mind mission, as in the great commission. The idea being, “Having taken Christ into your being (or being reminded of such), and with prayers being sent to God; now go out, as his agents, into the world, spreading the good news. You are dismissed.” That’s what “Mass” means.
A reminder that although people say Eucharist means holy communion, the definition of the word is “thanksgiving”. Saying “grace” before a meal is eucharisteo, “To give thanks”, or literally, “Thankful for God’s good grace”. In the gospels, Jesus gave thanks before meals. What I understand is that Catholics say, “The Eucharist”, for communion, meaning, “The Thanksgiving”.
The Eucharist is a Thanksgiving Dinner. (1)
Christmas is when we celebrate God’s gift. God is always celebrating Christmas and we get to join in. The Christian life is filled with a reception of God’s gifts.
God’s ethos is that he is a giver and God’s children become and learn the ethos of being givers. Remember that as Christians, we are under or in and live through grace. I don’t break the ten commandments (we keep the Sabbath differently under the law of Christ), because I am in God’s grace, not because I am under the law. I have the living desire to be a generous giver, because I am in God’s grace.
I am convinced that God always has more gifts and wants to give us more. We are the ones who decide how much we will get. We get gifts from God by pursuing God.
Every day is Christmas with God. The Christian life is one of receiving gifts and being generous. It really is that simple. God gave, God gives; I receive and am thankful (a Eucharistic life); and then in turn, I am generous.
When Jesus teaches us about His Father’s generosity and benevolent goodness towards his children, he ends with this statement, saying, “In the light of what I have just taught you about my father’s care for you – to keep asking, seeking, and knocking for what you desire; because God is a father who gives gifts to his children, surpassing what the best human fathers do – in light of that truth, whatever you want done for you, do that for others.”
Jesus teaches us to, in a sense, “Give what we want to get”. If you want a promotion, then promote others. If you want to find a wife or husband, help others to find their future wife or husband. If you need more money, give money to those in need. If you need _____, then give ____ to others that need it.
The ethos of the kingdom is generosity. God starts it and we get to play, and God keeps it going, as we go with it. Christ-mass-time is all the time and Christmas is a time of receiving and giving.
Children eventually learn to receive and give at Christmas. We also learn that we don’t give to get, but give from generosity birthed in our lives in God (John 3:16). We get, then give to get to give.
Jesus addresses earthly fathers in Matthew 7, saying that, “As you give gifts to your children, Father gives gifts to you”, and “Keep asking for what you desire, keep believing your heavenly Father for those gifts.”
Jesus implies that there is often a time between the times, of waiting for something you desire – that thing you want. He says, “You want something”, “Keep asking for it”, “God will give you the desire of your heart, as He is a father who gives his children gifts”; “And while you are asking with faith, but have not received it yet, give what you want to another person who needs it.”
Jesus also tags that last statement with stating that this is what the whole Law and the Prophets are saying. This is the golden rule of, “Give unto others what you would have them give unto you”. We are not under law, but we are in the kingdom that is themed with generosity. The King is generous and we his subjects are generous.
The kingdom is about generous living.
1. The Eucharist is a Thanksgiving Dinner. You would never know that from the way that many churches “do it”. Even in 1 Corinthians, we quote Paul, and skip the fact that the Corinthians celebrated the Eucharist or Communion in a meal. The person with the microphone parachutes in to the verse that says, “On the night he was betrayed, Jesus…..” But, in reality, the Christians hearing those words, had plates of food in from of them, and perhaps some flies buzzing around the room, and crumbs and spilled wine on the floor.
What does this all have to do with gifts from God? What is has to do with God’s gifts is that feasting is a gift from God. Jesus Christ is a feast and not a snack. He is a full meal. He is a long drink. He is also someone we continually feed upon, 24/7.
A tiny package does not honestly and justly show the gift of God. It actually sends the wrong message. The gospel is wild and overflowing. It can not be contained.
When God gave the gift of manna in the desert, it was very plentiful. They filled bags with it. That’s a contrast to the communion cracker.
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