Christmas is a frenzy of gift giving. It has become an international holiday. But how did this all begin? And why do we give gifts?
First, I need to fill you in on some background information: We have all heard the story of a virgin bearing the Christ-child in a barn in the town of Bethlehem in Israel, 2,022 years ago. That comes from an Old Testament promise made by the prophet Isaiah. “The Lord himself will give you a sign: A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and he shall be called Immanuel.” (God with us.) — And he says this earthly ruler will be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.”
Over 700 years later, Luke, a physician, tells us in his account of this birth, about an angel, “Gabriel,” informing a young virgin, Mary, “You have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest… he will reign forever, … and his kingdom will never end.”
The Apostle John does not elaborate on this birth except to say, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
And later, Jesus himself explained the purpose of his birth. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.”
And so, on this special day of remembrance, believers in Jesus as the “Savior of the World,” celebrate his birth: Songs are sung, prayers are made, and gifts are given in memory of our Maker’s greatest gift. – And so, in answer to this post’s query: We give in celebration of the greatest gift ever given. — “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.”
Christmas is also a day that believers feel an excitement about the immanent return of Jesus to usher in his eternal rule. Almost every believer in Christ, all around the world, are convinced of this. – And these are the words the Bible says will be sung and shouted on that wonderful day, “I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!”