The Christmas story ultimately shows that the hope of the universe is a PERSON. ~ Paul David Tripp, O Come Let Us Adore Him
Are you good at giving presents? Some people have a knack for gift giving. They seem to be creative and always able to discover something so perfect to give to their loved ones. I am somewhat hit or miss. Sometimes I can come up with the perfect gift, and other times I just do not have any idea at all about what to give. When in doubt, my “go to” gifts would be a kitchen item for a woman, and a shirt for dudes. Wow, that sounds so terribly sexist as well as bland and boring. Please do not judge me.
There will be many gifts exchanged over these holidays. Aren’t you glad I am not in charge of purchasing your gift (unless your heart is set on a can opener)? Gift giving has long been a part of our Christmas tradition. The wisemen brought the first Christmas gifts to the baby Lord Jesus with their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. I once heard that if it had been three “wise women,” they would have stopped and asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, clean the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts (some onesies, diaper wipes, and baby blankets. Probably not a can opener).
In reality though, the gifts of the wisemen share a prophetic picture of Jesus. These gifts tell us about this baby. Gold was a gift presented to Kings. By giving gold to the family, they were declaring that this Child is the King.
Frankincense was a sweet smelling incense that was burned in temple as a sweet fragrance of a worship offering to God. They would burn incense before the altar representing the praises and prayers that would rise up unto the Lord. The laid the frankincense before the child, and then bowed down to worship because they believed this child was divine. He was God – in the flesh.
And last they brought myrrh. It was a burial spice used in embalming dead bodies as it’s sweet smell helped hold back the smell of rot and decay. A very interesting gift. I bet you have never seen myrrh brought to a baby shower. Myrrh was not only a burial spice, but also was believed to have some medicinal purposes to fight off viruses and bacteria. As they lay the myrrh at his feet in worship, their gift proclaimed that this baby did not come to live but ultimately came to die and give his life for many. Jesus would be the Healer, the Great Physician, and the Wonderful Savior.
I love how the gifts of the wisemen point to the beauty of Jesus. From infancy, the gifts speak declare that Jesus is King, He is God, and He will save. These gifts point to the fact that Jesus is actually THE GIFT. The very first Christmas gift was Jesus. God gave the first gift when his son came to the earth to pursue a sinful and separated humanity, reveal the nature of God through Jesus, and to die on the cross for the sins of the world.
Jesus is the Gift!
- For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son…
- For by grace you have been saved through faith (in Jesus); and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God… ~ Ephesians 2:8
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
- And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ~ Ephesians 5:2
- For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. ~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6
- waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us… Titus 2:13,14
The Christian faith all starts with a gift from God to us in the person of Jesus Christ. He was and still is the Perfect Gift.
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. ~ Unfinished Business, Charles Sell,
Father, thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ. I am not worthy of such an amazing gift, and yet He still came. Lord Jesus, you are the King and I want to submit my life to you. You are my God and I worship you. You are my Savior and I put all of my hope in you. I trust you and believe in you fully. O What a Savior you are! Thank you that you became sin for me, to rescue me from myself. I confess that I have needed you from my first breath to help and rescue me. You truly are a kind and amazing God. I love you Lord. Amen.
- Focus on Jesus as the gift. Take some and list all of the gifts you have found in Him (forgiveness, love, freedom, etc.)
- What gift do you want to give Jesus for Christmas? Remember a gift is freely given in love. You cannot repay God. You cannot match His gift of Jesus, but you can in faith return a gift of gratitude to Him. What gift do you bring?