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
I wrote about the gift I received from my son a few years ago in the devotion “The Gift” which can be found in the book “In My Father’s Footsteps Christmas 2016 Edition.”
My son asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said, “Peace and joy!”
That year I received two candles from my son. One had calligraphy of the word “peace,” the other “joy.”
The following Christmas when he asked me what I wanted, I told him, “The Indiana Jones Series on DVD!”
The first Christmas gifts given were the three treasures given by the Magi from the East as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.
The three gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh.
On the surface, these gifts seem a bit strange to bring to a little boy. Wouldn’t clothes, food, a playpen, or, at the very least, as savings bond, be more practical gifts?
Sometimes we don’t give very practical gifts.
One year, I gave my brother a Chia® Pet for a gift. No one needs one of these, it was just a gag gift.
Each year I try to find something for my wife, but usually end up getting her something that she either doesn’t need or didn’t really want. But I don’t give up!
The Magi from the East brought gifts to a boy and his family that they knew nothing about. They didn’t even know where he was, initially!
How could they possibly bring appropriate gifts?
They did know one thing that would help them. They knew this baby was a king.
So they brought treasures for a king.
Ah, but what would that be? Certainly gold. That would make sense. Gold has been a treasure for king and peasant and everyone else in between since Adam and Eve cultivated the earth for the first time.
But what about frankincense and myrrh? Why those particular gifts? Who would treasure those?
I believe that it was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit to gift this new family in Bethlehem with both practical and prophetic gifts. The gold would help pay their way to Egypt and their stay there.
The frankincense is thought to have medicinal powers, especially to relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, boosting immunity, and even fighting cancer. It was also used by priests in worship services as incense in Jerusalem and other places.
The myrrh was the ancient world’s equivalent of aspirin and was also used to quicken healing of cuts and bruises. It also was used as an incense in temple worship in Jerusalem. But it was also a “funeral spice” in the ancient Middle East, being applied to a dead body in preparation for burial.
These gifts and treasures brought by the Magi were practical but also prophetic in nature.
They pointed to the truth that Jesus is a King (the gold), a Priest (the myrrh and frankincense) and would one day die and be buried. (see John 19:38-42)
The gifts that I give to others will probably never be as appropriate as these, but the love behind them certainly can be!
Our gift giving, especially at this time of year, is rooted in the gift that God gave to us in his Son Jesus Christ. God’s love for us motivates us to love one another.
Here’s an idea for giving a Christmas gift (or any kind of gift):
- Start with prayer. “Heavenly Father, give me your Holy Spirit that I may give my gifts in the love you have for me in Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.”
- Give it some thought. What does this person mean to you? What is your relationship with this person? What might they need that they would also enjoy receiving as a gift?
- If appropriate, set aside a special time to give this gift.
- Do not expect anything in return. Accept thanks graciously.
- Pray with the person after you give the gift, thanking God for them being in your life.
It is my prayer that your gift giving – and receiving – will be blessed mightily by God this Christmas!
©2016 True Men Ministries