Unwrapping Christmas

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One of our biggest stressors during the Christmas season is in shopping for the perfect gifts for our friends and family. Think about the stress the very first Christmas shoppers, the Wise Men, must have experienced as they looked for a gift for the Son of God. As we focus on the actions of the Magi, let’s see how we learn how to unwrap Christmas this year.

They looked for him.
These wise men saw an extraordinary star and went in search for someone very special. Their long journey required much sacrifice, probably discomfort, and danger, but their hearts were bent to look for Jesus. God took extraordinary measures to lead them to Jesus. He guided them right into the presence of Jesus.
How will you look for Jesus this year? God will take extraordinary measures with us to lead us to Jesus.
They rejoiced over him.
Matthew tells us that when they realized that the star led them to Jesus, “they were filled with joy.” One version says, “They were overjoyed.” Another says, “They rejoiced with exceeding great joy!” “Let the hearts of those rejoice that seek the Lord.” Psalm 105:3
How will you rejoice over Christ this year? Will you be filled with joy? Will you be overjoyed? Will you rejoice with exceeding great joy?

They worshipped him.
When they presented themselves to him, they fell down and worshipped him. We do not read that they gave such honor to Herod. This honor went to a tiny baby, the newborn King.
How will you worship the King this year? Will you bow down before him?

They gave him gifts.
In the eastern nations when they paid homage to their kings, they gave them presents. The gifts seem quite strange to give to a baby, but the gifts were chosen with great purpose: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were rare, precious, and expensive. Let’s take a closer look at the gifts the Magi unwrapped for Jesus and see what we might unwrap for him this year.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, gold was even more prized than it is today. Their choice of gold must have provided Jesus and his family the financial support during the following years of travel through Egypt and it was seed for the most important work in the world. Gold is rare, has a shimmering beauty, an enduring quality, and can withstand even the harshest treatment as it goes through refinement in the fire. We’re much like gold. God’s gift to us is that he made each of us rare beauties with the endurance to withstand refinement in the fires we go through.
What will be your gift of gold to Jesus this year? What do you prize that you could offer him? Is it your time? Is it money? Is it service?

Frankincense is a very costly and fragrant gum obtained from the bark of a tree. This tree was so scarce that only those with a pure heart and mind were allowed to come near it. Highly fragrant when burned, it was used in Old Testament worship as a pleasant offering to God.
During this sacred season are we taking time to offer the gift of our time and worship as a “sweet smelling sacrifice” to our King?

Myrrh is an aromatic gum that comes from a thorny bush. This gift represents the human suffering that Jesus would endure. The Magi’s choice of Myrrh reflects how Jesus identifies with our pain and sorrow. This Christmas Jesus longs for us to give him the packages we’re having trouble unwrapping. Packages wrapped in the bandages of our pain and sorrows…those wrapped in the busyness of Christmas preparations…those wrapped in the glitter of too much materialism.
Are we willing to give him the parts of our lives that we keep underwraps?

Do you know what gift he really wants from us? He wants us to live in his presence every day and to worship him as the Magi did with love, respect, honor, and sacrifice.
How can you unwrap the presence of Christ at Christmas this year?


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