by Patrick Nix
With things being as financially tight as they are in a house full of kids, we’ve been thinking about making the most of our money & that single opportunity we share at Christmas to give the ‘perfect’ present. These are not the only gifts that would qualify as good (by far) – but they are a good start. I figured we can learn from the Wise Men and their gifts! There were two other things the wise men gave that don’t get much airtime – but they also spoke to me.
Matthew 2:11 “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.”
These three gifts really caught my attention and the Spirit led me to deliver a message based in these ideas:
1. Need-Meeting Gifts
Gold was a treasured gift – but not one to be horded or worn proudly (as we often do today). It was currency. Joseph and Mary did not know they would soon be uprooted from their home into Egypt – but God knew and prepared some need-meeters to help in their situation. This gift, reminding us of Christ’s Deity and kingly origins, calls our attention to His own heart of service (Mark 10:45). Be tenderhearted to others’ needs during these difficult times and don’t be afraid to get involved. Someone really close to you just might need a good Samaritan! Consider saving money by hand-making a gift / hand-delivering Christmas cards and supporting a mission organization. You can make a real difference!
2. Spiritual Gifts
Frankincense was the sacred incense of God’s House. When the ancient priests came home after a long day serving in the Tabernacle, the aroma of frankincense would follow. This gift, picturing Christ as Priest, reminds us to give something that will call people’s attention to be drawn to God and His house. Give a Bible, a Christian book, or something that points people to Christ. Sometimes all it takes is some love and creativity to reach out and really have a powerful impact on someone’s eternity. Partner with the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16) to give a present with zing!
3. Long-term / Lifetime Gifts
Myrrh is a most unusual gift for a baby – after all, it’s a burial spice. It was used for embalming dead bodies. This gift, symbolic of Christ as Prophet, points to His death. His birth is exciting – but it is purposed (Luke 19:10). In the day of immediate gratification, it’s hard not to get caught up in the here-&-now, but do your best to give with eternity in focus. Give something that your child will use their entire life – a tool, a keepsake, a savings bond!
4. The Gift of Time
They invested weeks (maybe months) into traveling to see the Christ. The wise men did trust Brown to deliver the gifts for them – they invested the time to deliver them. Don’t just give presents – give presence. There’s no substitute for just being there! It never made sense that parents would get second jobs and be gone twice as much during the holidays just to get the kids something they didn’t need – or really didn’t even want.
5. The Gift of Worship
Take time this Christmas to worship God. The wise men traveled all that way not just to give a few gifts; they fell down in front of Him – this little child – and praised Him. Let’s humble ourselves and just lose ourselves in love for Him. Don’t confine it to a day or a service… God is worthy of our attention and our affection.
Spend less. Give presence. Worship fully. (Catch-phrases of http://www.AdventConspiracy.org)