Usually when we go to church during December, we learn that Christmas is about giving, not getting. Kids are going to go back to school after the holidays and the big question will be, “What did you get for Christmas?” A better question is, “What did you give for Christmas?”
We look in Matthew 2 at the story of the wise men. They gave Jesus the gift of worship. A great question for us is to ask Christ at Christmas, “Jesus, what do You want from me for Your birthday?”
It’s giving over getting. Right? How are you doing with that?
But if we are going to give before we get, we must get before we give! Confused?
Think of it this way: We have to come to Christ to get things money can’t buy and death can’t take away. And that is actually the foundation for giving over getting.
We can see this in Luke 2, in the story about the shepherds and the birth of Jesus.
I love the fact that the shepherds got the first birth announcement. This tells us something about the heart of God for the last, the least, and the lost. The shepherds weren’t powerful or influential. In fact, they were looked down on by the religious leaders. It was hard for the shepherds to keep up with the Jewish ritual washings and all the ceremonial rules. Taking care of the sheep meant they were dirty and smelly. The birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord, was announced first to common, simple, hard-working people. I love that.
And when they heard about the birth of Jesus, they decided to come to Christ to get.
On one level, the shepherds, like the wise men went to give – to give worship. But on another level, the shepherds went to get – to get something from God that only He could give them. And they found something they didn’t have. They found something for their guilt, shame, fear, sorrow, and worry.
We need to come to get, too. See, when it comes to our relationship with God, we have to remember that He is a Giver – the ultimate Giver. “For God so loved the world that He gave…” “For unto us a Son is given…” “Every perfect gift comes from above…” God is a Giver.
That means we are getters. We have to be. Even when we give we have to remember that we can only give because God first gave to us.
So, when the angels appeared to the shepherds on that first Christmas, they were inviting the shepherds to come to Christ to get.
When we come to God, we must come thirsty. The Bible teaches us that we must come to Christ to get.
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:2a, ESV).
“O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You” (Psalm 63:1a, ESV).
“Jesus… cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink'” (John 7:37b, ESV).
Our problem is that we don’t come to God to get enough. We aren’t thirsty enough for God. So, we fill up our lives with things food and drink and news and clutter and sex and drugs and recreation and entertainment and work and technology and noise and music that don’t satisfy.
We need to come to Christ to get, not give. This Christmas, will you come thirsty? Will you come to Christ to get?
See, it’s when we get, not give that we have divine resources to give, not get.