Richard Hatch was the winner of the first Survivor game show. I never liked the guy very much and after he won he started doing the talk show circuit. He was on all the big ones: letterman, Leno, etc. He was arrogant and obnoxious! (I guess it takes one to know one!) The most memorable thing about him is what he said that always makes me think about the Christmas tradition of giving. He said “selfishness is a virtue.” He said, “For example, if you give somebody a gift, it’s because you want that good feeling that comes to you from the act of making someone you care about happy.”

Well, that’s the truth in many ways. I remember shopping as a little boy for my mother and father and wanting to get them something that they would like. Dad always got excited over the handkerchiefs and the socks. Mom loved the cheap perfume. Well, they sure acted like it. It was interesting that as I look back I realize that there sure wasn’t much for them to get excited about at Christmas time, but they sure did act like it. I didn’t fully understand it until I had my own kids and got the joy of giving to them and acting like the pencil drawing of a tree was the greatest gift I could have ever received. It really does feel good to give to those we love! We truly do have a selfish motive in our giving. We love to make those we love happy and we usually go to some expense to make that happen.

But what if the one you loved most was what you had to give away! Do you see any selfish motives in that? God so loved the world that He gave his “only begotten son.” Jesus is often referred as God’s “beloved son.” Jesus is the one God loved above all others and it was this that God gave up. Instead of pleasing the one he loved He gave Him up for us! And He gave him up for us when we were His enemies. In doing this He “demonstrates His Own love for us in that: that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Someone once said that the only purely motivated give of love was the one God gave us in the person of His only son. When we look at all the presents under our trees this year, let’s remember the greatest present of all.

“God so loved that He gave….” John 3:16