Guest Blog by Mary Vance Berlin
It’s that time of year where gift-giving is everywhere! Christmas gifts are being purchased and wrapped to be placed under trees, food items are being collected for food banks, toys are being collected for families who have needs, shoe boxes filled with gifts are being packed to send to children in other countries, gift exchange parties are being held, end of the year bonuses are being given, and gift cards are being handed out to people who serve us (hair dressers, mailman, lawn care providers, and so on)…it’s definitely a season to make choices and decisions of what to give to others.
And in the midst of all this, I find myself pondering a question…
Did the Magi wrestle with what gifts to bring to the Christ child?
“And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
The gifts the Magi presented had not only financial worth, but symbolical value as well. Gold, while extremely pricey, was a precious metal exclusive to kings and royalty. Frankincense was an expensive oil and fragrance used in important ceremonies. Myrrh was a spice and substance that was preparation for anointing.
Each of these treasures the Magi gave to Christ Jesus was a foretelling of Who He is.
The gold pointed to His Kingship.
“On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16
The frankincense, used in the temple ceremonies by the priests to lead the people in intercession, revealed Christ Jesus is our High Priest Who would forever be interceding for us.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
And the myrrh? It was also used in ceremonies of anointing kings, as an incense in intercession, and for anointing at burials, foreshadowing the coming death of Christ on the Cross.
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8
The Magi might not have understood what each gift they were bringing would signify as they traveled for years following the star, but God did as He guided each selection. In these three treasures, God gives us a glimpse into the truth of Who Jesus is and that He was born in the shadow of the Cross.
As extravagant as these treasures were, the Magi’s first gift was literally priceless.
They went into the house. People just do not walk into someone’s home without being invited, and this indicates God had issued a welcome to them.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” John 6:44
The Magi were given introduction to Mary, but they “saw” the child, and this is where their first gift begins. Babies and small children are certainly adorable and noticed, but strangers do not have the reaction these men had to this particular child. Upon seeing Him, the Magi fell and worshiped, and herein is their real gift to the Christ child. God opened their eyes and hearts to recognize they were in His presence, and their response was to immediately worship.
“So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” Philippians 2:10
During this Christmas season of activities filled with family and friends and gift-giving, I pray that you and I learn this critical truth in giving to Christ. Presenting our treasures as an offering is a good gift, but what brings joy to His heart is to give Him our total and absolute and consuming worship of Him alone.