“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they . . . worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11–12, NIV)
Christmas is about gifts. Brightly wrapped paper hides wonderful surprises. Boys and girls squeal, loved ones smile broadly, and dear friends deepen their devotion. While an uncounted number of gifts fill up the pages of history during the Christmas season, there is a treasured story of the first Christmas gifts.
After Jesus was born, He grew into boyhood. The years between were needed for several special unnamed travelers from an unknown country somewhere in the East (maybe China?) to make the journey to Bethlehem. In the Bible these visitors are called Magi. Traditional songs and greeting cards have suggested extra-biblical ideas that they were kings, wise men, or a trio of camel riders.
Precisely, we only know that they saw a star from their Eastern country that captivated their attention. They came to investigate. Then, the star reappeared and led them to where Jesus was a young child staying in a home with His earthly parents. What ensued was an act of worship that was supported by wonderful gifts. The Magi brought gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.
Yes, the gifts were expensive but very appropriate for a King. They were also timely gifts. Soon Jesus and His family would flee for their lives to Egypt, and this unexpected windfall would finance their journey.
The first Christmas gifts elevated the worship to a regal status. Subsequently, these gifts also bore powerful testimony to the Father’s provision. He cares for those who are His. Gifts are a reality of genuine grace in our lives.
This Christmas I encourage you to bring a gift before your King by serving others, and make your gift an expression of your worship to Him.