Christmas is here. This season it’s called ’the most wonderful time of the year’ but it can also be called ‘the most stressful time of the year.’ Traffic increases and you get delayed getting to your destination because the speed slows down to a crawl. There is anxiety related to financial concerns, relatives arriving for a visit, food to be prepared or bought and especially the gifts. Buying gifts during this season is what mobilizes everyone out of their homes in unusual times to get the best bargains, thus, the traffic. Gifts are the reason that causes financial stress and debt during this time of the year, ushering in the New Year with new debt! Retailers go all out trying to get customers to buy what they are selling and not what the guy across the street or the next website is selling. It is sad, but it seems Christmas has become more about the gifts than about the One who brought The Gift.
This is the third in a series of three articles examining the origin of some Christmas traditions. Just as reminders of the real meaning of Christmas.
Only Matthew tells us that there came three wise men from the East to worship Jesus and they followed His star to where He was. Only Matthew is presenting Jesus as a King and only a King would receive such a visit and such gifts. When these men arrived they fell down at the feet of a baby and gave Him three gifts: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. “And when they had 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 gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Mt. 2:11 NKJV)
Each of these gifts had a spiritual meaning that will not be discussed here at this time. Let’s just say that these gifts were fit for a King and showed three different aspects of the baby’s life and purpose. Based on this story and others, early Christians started giving gifts to each other and over time this custom became a retailing sensation making this the most profitable season for stores around the world. It seems this is still true today. Unfortunately, this has made more and more difficult to remember that the gifts given to baby Jesus were meant as a symbol of worship to Him because of the Gift He brought to the world. And the gifts we give to each other are supposed to be a celebration remembering this Gift.
What was this precious Gift He brought? It was life! He gave us life through His passing through this world and through the cross to get to His destination. That destination was to sit at the right hand of the Father after finishing the work He and only He had to do and could do. “… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)
On this Christmas, yes, give gifts to your loved ones and celebrate the real reason for it. Over all though, give the One who deserves your worship this one gift, your heart.