Most of us have been on a quest the past several weeks (or more!) to find the perfect gift to give our family members and our friends.
No doubt about it though, the perfect gift has already been given;
God Himself gave us the first and best Christmas Present that there could ever be!! Thus, the tradition of gift giving began.
The image of the Wise Men giving gifts to Jesus is associated with Christmas, and we often see Nativity scenes with the shepherds and the Magi peering at Baby Jesus. The chronology of the events of Jesus’ birth are understandably confusing. When studied closely, however, evidence points to Jesus being about one or two years old when the Wise Men arrived.
The Bible does not tell us how many of these men followed the miraculous star in the East, which led them to where the Christ Child was, but we do know that they brought Baby Jesus three gifts.
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Matt. 2:11
Gold symbolizes the deity and glory of our Savior. Frankincense is a fragrance, representing the sinless and perfect life of Jesus. Myrrh is a bitter herb, signifying the suffering Jesus would endure to pay our sin debt.
These Magi were divinely warned in a dream not to return to Herod. In spite of how they might have lived before their journey to Jesus, once they experienced Him, their obedience was to God, not Herod. Isn’t that the way it goes - an encounter with Jesus is always life changing, and route changing too!
The most common gifts given in times past of celebrating Jesus’ birth were sweet oranges, which were rare treats, or homemade food items, and handmade clothing & crafts. Stockings that were actually worn were hung on hearths with anticipation of finding treats in them, dating back as early as the fourth century.
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we can give back to God by giving to others. While we hope that our loved ones’ faces light up with joy as they open their presents – presents that we put such thought and effort into - what’s more important is that we do all that we can to help them receive the Greatest Gift of all!
I hope that each of you have a very Merry CHRISTmas!