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GOD’S WORD FOR DECEMBER 26 ~ ~ John 18:37 ~ ~ “Pilate therefore said to Him, Are You a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.”

The following is a slight paraphrasing of a famous sermon given many years ago by Dr. D. James Kennedy, and, even though he is with the Lord, it is still very much requested today.

Long ago in a land across the sea and far away there was a very rich man named John Beersdorf Tifton. He had a very unusual habit. Now and again, based on some criteria known only to him, he would select a person and give him one million dollars. Remember, this was long ago, so now it would be much more.

*Not only that, but he would adopt them into his family, give them his name, and make them an heir to his huge estate. His representative for this was Michael Anthony who would knock on the individual’s door and give him the envelope in the name of Mr. Tifton.

You could always identify Mr. Anthony by his boller hat, umbrella and the ever present briefcase which contained the check.

As you can imagine, as time went on, the number of recipients of this gift increased, until there were thousands who had their lives changed, as well as their names and future prosperity. They called it “The Gift”

Mr. Tifton had set things up and declared that this practice would be continued after his death, so there were even more people all around the world who had received this wonderful free gift called simply The Gift.

Now, back in his home country, where the people knew him well, the recipients of this great and generous gift decided that every year they would get together to celebrate Mr. Tifton’s birthday, and pay respect to their benefactor’s great generosity. They wrote and sang songs about him, had pictures of him, wrote books about him, and spoke lovingly about how their lives were gloriously transformed because of this free gift.

The amazement of their mutual good fortune brought them together and formed a loving and grateful *bond between them. They called the day Tifton Day. They even exchanged Tifton cards, and wished each other a “Merry Tifton”

One year, two recipients who had received The Gift in the land across the sea, where they lived, decided to take a trip to America to meet with the brothers of The Gift. Since those who received The Gift were relatively few in number compared to the general world population, they thought they would have to try very hard to find even one Tifton family.

To their surprise, since it was the time of year the celebration occurred, they saw signs of Tiftons everywhere. There were Tifton cards, Tifton lights to put on the Tifton trees, which people bought at the Tifton sales in the stores. People were saying Merry Tifton and Happy New Year everywhere they went.

“wow”, they thought, Mr. Anthony was busy here! There are many more than in our country, and they are very open about it.

They stopped a gentleman and asked him what the history is of the Tifton Day celebration. He invited them to a Tifton Eve party at his house where they could ask people.

At the party they were met with congenial laughter, music, drinking, laughing, and dancing. Many were drunk, and the party was uproarious.

They looked at each other and whispered, “I don’t think Mr. Tifton would be pleased with this” For they came from Mr. Tifton’s home country, where Tifton Day was only celebrated by those who had *received the Gift and the adoption as sons and heirs of John B. Tifton.

But they stayed and watched. They looked around the room, and saw a display of Tifton cards that people had sent each other. But, surprisingly, the great and generous man’s name was no where on the cards. There was a jolly man in a red suit, or a reindeer with a red nose, snowmen, and lots of toys under a lighted Tifton tree, but no pictures of Mr. Tifton, or people talking about his sacrifice and generosity. They listened, but they never heard his name mentioned.

They stopped one man with a drink in his hand. Assuming that everyone there had received the Gift, which was the reason for the day, they naturally assumed everyone’s name was Tifton, as it was in their country at the parties for Mr. Tifton’s birthday.

“Excuse me, Mr. Tifton”—they asked.

“Mr. Tifton? My name is Butch James, what’s your problem?”

“We’re sorry, sir, we’re new here and we’d like to know the history of Tifton Day in America.

OH, that’s different! Well, I don’t know a lot about it, but it seems that this Tifton fella had a lot of money, and he wrote a book about how to get rich by following his rules. Just about everyone has a copy of his book on their coffee table or somewhere, but most people don’t read it. I read some long ago, but not since. But it’s a great party, eh? Excuse me, I gotta go…….

They stopped a lady with a friendly smile walking past them. She was very nice and cordial. They asked her about the celebration. “Oh,” She said. It’s just a tradition that started many years ago. It really has no reason other than to cheer people up during the dreary winter months. We have parties, exchange Tifton gifts, I remember as a child hanging my Tifton stocking up and getting small toys in *it.” She said with a smile. “It’s to promote the Tifton Spirit—-you know, brotherly love, and all that. It’s a wonderful thing.” With that, she trotted off to spread her Tifton cheer around to others.

They saw a man that was obviously wealthy, and thought he must have gotten the Gift, so they approached him. His answer was that, no, he hadn’t received any gift from any Tifton. In fact, as he understood it, this Tifton character didn’t even exist, although some poor fellas believe he did. As he said, “ I sure don’t believe it. However, the idea is good, and if it makes people happy, and makes them *treat each other good, hey, I’m all for it.” Then, with a smirky smile, he leaned in to the two men and whispered, “besides, the Tifton present buying makes my department store bulge this time of year!, Ha ha”

Just then there was a knock on the door. There stood a man with a boller hat, umbrella, and briefcase. Obviously, the brothers thought, this is a descendent of Michael Anthony!!! They were elated, because now someone will receive the Gift and everyone will know what Tifton Day is all about!

Mr. Anthony stepped inside, and tried several times to get everyone’s attention, but the music, laughter, bell and glass tinkling, and general noise completely drowned him out. Finally, after many more tries, he sadly and quietly walked out the door, and no one received the free and wonderful Gift that night.

What is Tifton Day symbolizing? Christmas Day

What is The Gift and what does it symbolize? A Million dollars from Mr. Tifton and it symbolizes God’s free gift of Salvation through Christ

Why did they change their names to Tifton? Adoption as children of Mr. Tifton, and heirs to his estate,

What does it symbolize? — Our adoption as children of God and being heirs to eternal life with Christ and all the riches of God forever.

What happened to the Tifton Day celebration? People celebrated it who had not received the gift, and didn’t know Mr. Tifton’s generosity,

What did that symbolize? People celebrating Christmas, Christ’s birthday, when they haven’t received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and don’t truly know Him. So they just go for the gifts and the party because they don’t know the true meaning of Christ being born for the purpose of dying for our sins, making our forgiveness and adoption into the family of God a reality.

What did they do with the book of Mr. Tifton’s words? Let it sit and didn’t read it.

What do many people do with the Word of God, the Bible? Let it sit and don’t read it.

Why were there so many different opinions of Mr. Tifton and his Gift? Because people valued the parties and material things more than the meaning of The Gift, so they didn’t bother to find the truth.

What is the symbolism with this? People generally want their emotions satisfied with the things of this world, and don’t want to find out what the One True God, Creator of the Universe and of ourselves has to say about salvation through Jesus.

Matthew 7:13-14  “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

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