Telling of Treasures
What do you want for Christmas?
Isn’t that one of the most popular questions we ask one another, as December 25th draws near? It starts on Santa’s knee, when we are tiny tots, and seems to grow from there.
Have I dropped enough hints this holiday season? Does Santa know what to bring me? What if the one thing I really want doesn’t magically appear underneath my Christmas tree?
Have you finished your Christmas shopping?
Let’s step outside ourselves a moment. We have been reminded, ever since we were kids in school that it is far better to give than to receive. This is even a biblical concept.
“The Lord Jesus himself said:
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
(Acts 20:35b, NIV)
OK, we get that. Christmas is all about giving, not just getting. Isn’t it?
Hold on a minute.
Maybe this holy day is not about us – giving or receiving gifts – at all.
The crux of Christmas is Christ. It’s all about Jesus and His arrival in human flesh as a baby born in Bethlehem. It’s about the coming of the Savior of the world.
Still, we love to celebrate and to give and receive gifts. And maybe somehow we are imitating Christ and honoring Him when we give good things to one another.
What makes a great Christmas gift?
The best gifts are usually things intended to be treasured. When we offer presents to special people, we hope they will welcome our gestures and our gifts wholeheartedly, understanding the love that goes behind the offering. Thoughtful gifts are always selected with the recipient in mind, along with the goal of finding the perfect fit somehow.
Consider the gifts folks offered to the infant Christ in the stable in Bethlehem.
Perhaps people brought food. We sing about a little drummer boy, who played a song (at least percussionally) for the Prince of Peace. The innkeeper likely offered Mary and Joseph milk and maybe eggs from his animals in the stable. We hope so.
Then the three Wise Men, Magi, or Kings arrived from the East. And they brought gifts galore. What presents did these three eminent visitors offer the Baby Jesus?
They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ Child. What? Did we hear that right? What manner of gifts are these? Those aren’t exactly the sort of stuff you might find at a baby shower.
Gold is a gift for a king. The Magi must have known Jesus represented royalty. And they were right, for He grew to be the King of the Jews, and He is the King of Kings.
Frankincense produces fragrance, which was often used in Temple offerings to God. This gift pointed to the holiness of Jesus, who would become our High Priest and intermediary with Jehovah God.
Myrrh is used in ointments, such as those employed in preparing a body for burial. By bringing myrrh to the Babe of Bethlehem, the Magi prophetically demonstrated how Jesus would later die to save the world.
Human insights might cause us to react with confusion or surprise at these gifts. We might frown quizzically, almost like you would to find a Chia Pet, Snugglie or ugly Christmas sweater under your own Christmas tree. But in God’s eyes, this trio of offerings was more than appropriate.
For Jesus is our King, our Priest and our Redeemer.
This holiday season, we have another opportunity to give gifts to the Christ of Christmas. What will you offer to the Savior to celebrate His coming?
What do you treasure most? And what does the Lord treasure? Is it your time, your talents, your tithes or your trust? Or is it something else altogether?
The Nativity Play/Christmas Cantata
Gabriel A. Healy
Publisher: D. & J. Sadlier & Company
Public Domain – Copyright Expired