With Christmas just behind us, did you get what you wanted for gifts? Have you ever really thought about the gifts that you get under the tree? Have you ever really thought about gifts and the gifts you get? Hopefully the gifts you received at any special time are things you wanted. By its definition a gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of payment. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favour, including forgiveness and kindness. Everyone would agree that getting gifts is nice. But gifts are not what Christmas is about. Christmas is about celebrating Jesus birth as He entered into the world in a very humble way. Even though He entered humbly Jesus had the grandest birth announcements, the best baby shower, and the best gifts in the world. Gifts are a very big part of the Christmas story in that the Magi or Wise-men brought gifts to Jesus. Within the Christian faith we celebrate Epiphany which is the 12th day after Christmas and we celebrate the coming of the Magi or also called the Wise-man.
In Matthew 2: 9-11 “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the East went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. They opened their treasures and presented Him with Gifts of Gold and of Incense and of Myrrh.” The gifts from the Magi did not come when Jesus was born. In fact Jesus was probably one or two years old when the “Kings” found Him. The Magi gave these expensive gifts because they were worthy for a future king. Some bible students have seen in the gifts symbols of Christ’s identity and what He would become and accomplish. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. These gifts may have provided the financial resources for the trip to Egypt and back for Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
We have each received a Christmas present from God. It came without a box or bow, it wasn’t warped with glitter. But in our hearts we know it’s the greatest present we will ever receive the gift of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Christmas is about our saviour Jesus Christ coming as a baby. The Greatest gift of all… “Love”! God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
For Christians, Jesus is the greatest gift we have ever received. He lives within our heart and because of Him and His presence in us we will never be the same. Of all the lovely gifts that we get beneath the Christmas tree His presence is the greatest gift we could ever receive.
When you look back on the gifts you received this year, remember the greatest gift ever given to us by God, His son Jesus. That is the reason for the season of Christmas and should be reason we celebrate.
In the spirit of giving presents there are also gifts we can and should give back to Jesus and God. Some might say like what? What is a gift that I can give to the creator who made everything and has everything? What about your time, your trust, your faith, your hope? The Magi traveled thousands of miles to see the King of the Jews. When they finally found him, they responded with joy, worship and gifts. This is so very different from the approach many people often take these days. We expect God to come looking for us, to explain Himself, to prove who He is, and give us gifts. But those who are wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get, but for who He is. We can learn a lot from the Magi’s example of bringing gifts and worshiping Jesus for who He is. This act is the essence of true worship. Honoring Christ for who He is and being willing to give Him what is valuable to you. We are to worship God because He is perfect, just, and the almighty Creator of the universe, worthy of the very best we have to give him.