Christmas time is here, and the store’s shelves are continually being restocked of all the items that make good gifts for family and friends. The economy boosts, people spend too much money and people receive gifts they will never use…or eat. That’s okay though, because it’s Christmas!
Families come together, sometimes for the first time all year. Even members of the family who stand at odds with one another come together for a temporary truce, which often results in resolved matters. The cheerful giver has much to look forward to in this season, whereas the penny-pincher has much to dread. Either way, Christmas itself is a gift to all who celebrate it.
In Matthew 2:11, we see the origin of the tradition of gift giving for Christmas as the wise men give to baby Jesus. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened there treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Though it seems fairly odd that these valuables were given to a young Child; indeed, there is purpose.
Isaiah prophesies this very thing in chapter 60 verse 6, “…they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim praises of the Lord.”
These gifts that were given to the Child were gifts often given to those of royalty, kings in particular. It was common for men to bring these items before kings as a symbol of their kingship, or royalty. Perhaps the gold represents Jesus’ earthly kingship. Frankincense is incense used in perfumes. Some scholars hold to the belief that this gift represents Jesus priesthood. Myrrh is an embalming fluid, and many scholars belief this represents the death of Christ.
There is no clarity of these matters of representation in the Bible or any other historical documents, and therefore should not be taken for absolute certainty, but what is true is the wise men knew the Child was a new born King (Matthew 2:2) and considered Him worthy of worship.
King Herod sought to kill Jesus (Mt. 2:13) which leads one to believe King Herod was afraid that the Child’s kingdom would absorb his own.
So one must ask the question; if both King Herod and the wise men knew that Jesus was a new born King, then why did King Herod and the wise men respond so differently?
It seems as if Herod was too tied up in his own temporary kingdom, which was given to him by God in the first place (Daniel 2:21, John 19:11). King Herod did not understand the kingdom of God, nor did he give heed to the Scriptures of the Bible, and it was to his demise. It is likely that one who does not give careful thought, study, and prayer to the Lord and His Word will not understand it, will not trust Him, and will perish along with his own kingdom.
On the contrary of King Herod’s response to the newborn King, the wise men made a different decision. And this decision was represented in part by the gifts that they shared with Christ in His coming. Perhaps the gifts that were given from the wise men represented even more than just symbolism.
Through the fulfillment of prophesy, could there still be a deeper matter represented in these gifts? Maybe these precious gifts were given to Jesus because the wise men knew that the gift Jesus was bringing to the world and its people is more valuable than one could ever give in return. Therefore, it could be that the wise men considered that Jesus, the Son of God, is worthy of their best. After all, God has considered, and He has determined that we are worthy of His best. And so it became, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
If you are reading this and you have not understood that Jesus came to save the world and you have not claimed Him as Lord in your life and have not asked for forgiveness of the wrong things you have done; will you place your faith in Jesus today? Will you give Jesus your life, so that you can have eternal life with Him, instead of eternal death without Him?
If you believe in Jesus, but you have not given Him your best; will you show God how valuable you think He is by giving Him more of your thoughts, prayers, and devotion? What gifts can you bring Jesus this Christmas? Let us rejoice, celebrate this season of giving, and let us give more to Jesus; because He gave us His all. So then, He is worthy of our all.
Isaac Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors.