“The greatest and most momentous fact which the history of the world records is the fact of Christ’s birth.” ~Charles H. Spurgeon
Over the years there have always been hard to find toys. And because they were hard to find, the kids wanted them. You had Chatty Cathy, G.I. Joe, Star Wars figures, Cabbage Patch dolls, Transformers, Teddy Ruxpin, Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies, Furby’s and Nintendo Wii to name a few. The lucky ones who got the hot toy for that year were ecstatic because these gifts were their ticket out of Normalville and into Coolville. You would be the kid that everybody wanted to play with.
The question is when did Christmas become about gifts. When did it transform from the birth of the Savior to big marketing and commercialization? We all ponder that question during the Christmas season. We all wonder how best to celebrate Jesus this year in a manner worthy of a humble Savior who was born to two poor teenagers in a stable and yet still managed to save the world. The best way to do that is to give Christmas back to Jesus. Not just a corner of it, but all of it. There is nothing wrong with gifts; but let’s give Jesus the gifts of our time, energy and resources. They will last long after the new juicer is broken or outdated.
Christ’s life begins and ends surrounded by two of the most vivid exhibits of faith in the Bible. At His birth that exhibit of faith is in the wisemen—at His death it is the thief who repents. Both were presented with the impossible—an infant who sure didn’t look like God, and a crucified man that also failed to look the part of the Eternal King of Glory.
The wisemen believed in Christ when they had never seen him. They believed in Him when the scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving. They saw no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a newborn infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother’s care like any of us. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the Savior of the world. They “bowed down and worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:11).
That worship is a presentation of our gifts to God. We read that these wisemen “gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” The gifts had both significance and meaning. Gold is for a king. Frankincense is for a priest. And myrrh is for the One who was to die. These gifts of the wisemen, even in the infancy of Jesus, at the cradle of Christ, foretold that He was to be the true King (john 12:15), the perfect High Priest (Hebrews 2:17) and the Savior of mankind (Luke 2:11).
The wisemen recognized Christ as a king. One did not enter the presence of a king or other royalty without bearing gifts of great value. And they did not simply drop off the gifts on their way to visit their grandparents. By most accounts, they spent more than a year searching for the Messiah.
What gifts will we give to Jesus this Christmas season?
- What can we learn about gift-giving from the wisemen?
- Are there “gifts” in our life that God gets blamed for? Is He responsible?
- What are some gifts God has given you, and how do you show Him your appreciation?
- What obstacles keep you from giving the gift of worship this Christmas season?