The Gift That Keeps On Giving

By Greg Quinn

December 28th, 2020

One of my favorite Christmas movies, and I guess one of most everyone's favorites, is CHRISTMAS VACATION. In this holiday classic, Clark Griswold and his family welcome their in-laws to their home for Christmas. The laughable Cousin Eddie and his family invite themselves. Hilarity continues throughout the movie. Chances are you have seen it over and over yourself as have I, yet I continue to laugh each time as if it were the first time viewing.

There are so many classic lines from this movie, but I'll just focus on one here.

Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) was anxiously waiting for his Christmas bonus. He had already spent it for a pool they were going to have installed, and this was going to be a big surprise for the family. However, day after day went by and no Christmas bonus check arrived. Finally on Christmas Eve, the mailman delivered a letter to Clark. With everyone standing around, awaiting the announcement of this bonus check from his employer, Clark opened it up to read aloud to the family that instead of a bonus check, he had been enrolled in the "jelly of the month" club. After making the announcement, Cousin Eddie (played by Randy Quaid) exclaimed, "That's the gift that keeps on giving all year long".

That's the focus on this message. The Gift that keeps on giving.

Christmas is over for 2020, and I hope you got what you wanted. Maybe it was a new gun. Or ammo. Or jewelry. Or clothes. Or electronics. Whatever the typical gift, it's given once and even if it can be passed down from family member to family member like an heirloom gun, it doesn't maintain much significance after received. Ammo is shot up. Jewelry may last but loses its luster over time. Clothes wear out. Electronics are obsolete next year. No physical gift we can give is the "gift that can keep on giving"; even the jelly of the month.

What is the Gift that can keep on giving? Sharing the gospel. Sharing God's love. Sharing what knowing Jesus has done for you personally with others. This is the Gift that can keep on giving.

The birth of Jesus was the long-awaited Gift from God to humanity. After Adam sinned in the Garden at the beginning of the human race, God began to provide a gift that would bring sinful mankind back to a loving Holy God. For generation after generation, man tried to reconcile themselves to God through the offering of sacrifices to cover their sins. Offerings of the blood of animals to get God to forgive them another year. This was only temporary. There was no permanent solution that man could offer that would bring mankind into the right relationship with God again. Only God could provide this sacrifice Himself. Only God could give the Gift that could keep on giving, the Gift that would reconcile man to God. God provided this Gift in the form of God Himself coming to earth as a man to become the eternal sacrifice to redeem mankind back to God. This Gift was the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

MATTHEW 1:18-25
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.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Many of you reading this message have already accepted this Gift. You already have accepted the free gift of salvation through the grace of God, provided through His son Jesus, who was born of a virgin, lived a life without sin, was faced with and overcame all temptations that face mankind, provided a perfect example for our lives, and yet went to the cross and died in our place, so that we could be justified to a Holy God, and inherit eternal life in Heaven when we die and enjoy a much better life on earth until we do. This is our Gift.

But as great as this Gift is for ourselves, we should not be so selfish that we keep it to ourselves. This Gift should be given away. This Gift should be shared with others. 

If we flip over to the very end of the book of Matthew, we will find the following words from the resurrected Jesus right before he ascended into Heaven:

MATTHEW 28:18-20
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The Gift we have so freely received that changes our lives and our eternal destiny, we are to give away to others. This is our Commission. This is our commandment. This is our purpose.

Christmas is a time of giving. It is not about being selfish. Another holiday classic is the story of Scrooge. I watch each year as many of the renditions as I can of this great movie. Whether it is the original or others after it, or it is Bill Murray in Scrooged, or the Disney animated version with Jim Carrey as Scrooge, the story tells of extreme selfishness, the opposite of giving, during Christmas, and the visitation of ghosts (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, Ghost of Christmas Future) that showed the life of Ebenezer Scrooge and through these visitations, changed Scrooge's life into one of giving and generosity and happiness. One cannot be selfish and happy. So generosity is important to ones happiness. And at Christmastime more than any other time of the year, we celebrate the giving and receiving of gifts in recognition of the first and most important Christmas gift ever given, when God gave his Son Jesus to mankind to redeem us from our sins. This was the first and the most important Christmas Gift.

As Cousin Eddie said, this is the "Gift that keeps on giving". We have in our hands the greatest Gift ever given. Yet many are not willing to share this Gift with others. Either through embarrassment or fear, or not knowing what to say, many keep this Gift to themselves and forget the necessity of sharing it with others to enhance their lives and give them the greatest Gift ever given.

This Christmas season, why don't we start a new practice? After the paper is all thrown away today and the gifts even a few days old already start to lose their significance, why don't we begin the practice of giving away each day or whenever possible the greatest Gift? Why don't we give away the Gift of Jesus?

Tell others how your life changed when you accepted Jesus. Tell others the significance that the decision to follow Jesus has made in your life. Tell others the Christmas story about how Jesus was born to take away our sins. Or just tell them your story. One time you had no hope. Now you have hope on earth and hope for an eternity in Heaven. However you choose to do it, just give it away. Don't make it hard. Its no harder than handing someone a less significant gift. Just give them one that means more than anything else you could give, the Gift of Jesus.

This Holiday season, let's begin a series of giving that continues year long. Share with others what knowing Jesus has done for you.

Make this Gift, the greatest Gift ever given, the new "gift that keeps on giving all year long". 

God bless, and Happy New Year.

Greg Quinn