“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11
Part of the Christmas story can be found in the book of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. There, in chapter two, we read of several wise men, Magi, who followed the star till it rested over the place where the young Jesus was living.
But what most people fail to notice is that only the shepherds came to visit Jesus while he was still a baby in a manger. The Magi came later, once they were living “in the house” and Jesus was a “young child.” And, based on Herod’s decree that all male children 2 years old and younger should be killed (Matt. 2:16), Jesus could have been a toddler up and walking.
Simply put, generally, every manger scene protested against by atheists is not a faithful representation of the Christmas story. How ironic is that? But I digress…
When the Magi came to Bethlehem in search of “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2), they brought with them three very rare and valuable gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were not random gifts, but ones with specific political, spiritual, and practical importance; they were meant to recognize a literal, earthly, but also heavenly King.
Gold was a universally recognized precious metal, symbolic of all wealth. Frankincense was a substance primarily used as incense, but also mixed with other substances to create the holy anointing oil placed on high priests and kings. Myrrh was a substance used for things ranging all the way from cosmetics and antiseptics, to perfuming the living and embalming the dead.
According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi fell down before Jesus, which would have been an appropriate response when in the presence of royalty (and these men knew the difference). But the wise men did more than fall prostrate before royalty, they “worshiped him.” This young king was more than just “King of the Jews,” but the long-promised Messiah, and they offered their gift to the Son of God.
Are You Wise?
As long as I can remember there have been sermons preached during and before Christmas entitled, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” The sermons focus primarily on the seeking leading up to Christmas, but rarely, if ever, on the gifts given after the celebration is over. But today is different.
Today, I am going to ask you to consider three gifts we should give, now that the birthday celebration is over.
- Gold. Gold represented wealth. In your worship of the King, will you give Him your wealth? In reality, God owns everything, including everything He loans unto you. But with your heart, are you willing to lay everything that is most valuable to you at His feet?
- Frankincense. Frankincense represented worship. Would you be willing to fall down before Jesus, or do you hold back some of your Frankincense in reserve? Are there idols in your life – people or things – for which you reserve a little of that anointing oil, making those things lords of your life? Would you be willing to make Jesus Lord of all? Will you worship him without reservation?
- Myrrh. Myrrh was symbolic of the beauty of life, from beginning to end. Would you give to Jesus everything that makes you happy? Everything that brings you hope? Everything that is sweet-smelling? Everything that hides your faults and failures, disguising your true self? Would you give Jesus your life? He can do more with it than you can do on your own.
For several days after Christmas people will stand in line to return and/or exchange unwanted gifts. Many will trade what others gave them for something they want more. Others will just ask for a refund or in-store credit.
Rest assured that when you give your gifts to Jesus, he will not return them, exchange them, or re-gift them next year. But will you, once you realize what you’ve given, want to take something back?
Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution. Now that Christmas is over, be like the Magi and leave everything at Jesus’ feet, then “depart…another way.” Once you give Jesus those three gifts, you’ll never be the same.
8 responses to “After-Christmas Gifts”
Reblogged this on Faith Runner and commented:
I love this post for its truth — truth about the story of Jesus, truthabout its relevance today. Thank you, Pastor Baker!
Thank you, Nanette.
What great insight. Thanks for helping me understand I do have some things I can give to Jesus. And the good news is “he won’t return them.”
Be blessed. God is with you and in an amazing mood.
Excellent post, thank you for sharing. Post this to fb, many need to see it.
Yes… thank you… This post reaches my heart in a powerful way. With all my heart, this is my prayer…
This is hard teaching. After I nearly lost not one but two of my children (to an unknown illness and the other a brain tumor), I had to come to terms that they were my idols. Most parents and grandparents I know will not admit that, but I wonder would they love God as much and worship him as intently if their beloved die suddenly and painfully? We live in a culture where we idolize our health, comfort, and children. Everyone we love is His. All I can do tonight is say I want to be willing to love Him more than them.
Wow! That was an unexpected type of comment. God bless you, my friend.
Yeah, you can always count on me to write the unexpected, lol. My life is like that, too, crazy crap all day long sprinkled with spicy grace.
Thank you for your blessing and for writing in a way that might cause people to stop and truly examine their hearts. God wants us to love him, but I think he wants us to be brutally honest before we sign up.
I see we both know Nanette. Give her a warm hello in person from me, if you can. I am sitting in snowy NY, and I don’t know when I will see her again.