“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.” Matthew 2:11 (KJV)
For many of us this season we were blessed to experience the sights, sounds and the special memories of our Master’s birthday. By this time you have already received and exchanged gifts with family and friends. As this holiday season nears its end, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on past celebrations. Can you recall your all-time favorite gifts that meant the world to you?
For me it was Tonka trucks that were tough enough to sit on, electric trains and race car tracks, a cap gun, a toy gun that created a loud sound simulating a gunshot and a puff of smoke when a small percussion cap exploded. And who can forget the two to three hundred-piece western set including cowboys, Indians, horses and wagons? A boy never forgets his first bike and BB gun! The list of gifts is as long as the memory leads. However, upon receipt of your memorable gifts what did you exchange in return? How far did your hug and kisses, bright smiles and words of gratitude go? As a child did you ever stop to wonder who started this gift-giving on Christmas and why is it so significant?
One of the reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas is to remind us of the presents given to the child Jesus by the Wise Men: frankincense, gold and myrrh. Did you notice that, according to the Scripture, there were no shepherds, sheep, straw or swaddling clothes?
The young child Jesus did not have His own Christmas list. I think it was safe to say that He did not ask for gold, frankincense and myrrh. What child would ask for something that he or she could not play with? Can you see Mary telling the child Jesus: “Put away your frankincense and myrrh and come to dinner. Don’t forget the gold in your pocket!”
Why were the gifts given to the child Jesus so special?
Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and, as a gift, it revealed that people would worship Jesus. It recognized His deity as only God has the right to be worshiped.
Gold was connected with kings. Christians (born-again people) believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.
Myrrh was a perfume (a fragrance for funerals) that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice. As a gift, it revealed that Jesus would suffer and die.
The gifts were perfect for the child Jesus because He is the True King and Eternal Life!
In closing the real reason to celebrate Christmas is that God gave the world His Gift, Jesus. This truth is expressed in one of the most famous Bible verses that is fixed in our faith:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)
If you have yet to do so, won’t you give your life to God today? Those who choose to do so will not just receive a gift for today or for a season, but God’s Gift which keeps on giving!
For the Glory of God,