And going into the house, [the wise men] 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 was twelve or thirteen when I received a pretty cool Christmas gift from my mom and dad that was delivered in quite a unique and fun way.
That Christmas morning, my brother and I came downstairs about 6:00 a.m. (which was sleeping in for us on Christmas morning. We usually would get up at 4:00 and wait rather impatiently for our parents to wake up).
I noticed the unique gift right away. It was a little box wrapped in brightly colored Christmas paper but had a white string coming out of it and trailing to the back door!
My parents had me open all my other presents first. As you can imagine, this added to the tension and excitement about this last gift!
Finally, I was able to tear open the gift. I opened the box and tied to the white string was a key!
Now, I got it in my mind that this key was to a boat! It must have looked like other boat keys I had seen before. We had a boat when I was six or seven years old, when we lived on Long Lake. But we sold it when we moved.
I actually screamed, “It’s a boat!” and I quickly put on my shoes and ran out of the house following the string.
It led across the yard to behind our garage.
But then in my confusion, I saw that it was tied to a padlock on our shed. There was no way a boat would fit in that shed!
The key was actually to the padlock. So, I quickly opened the padlock and inside the shed was a brand new three-speed bike!
It was awesome! I mean, it was no boat, but what is a twelve-year-old going to do with a boat anyway?
I had that bike for years, riding it to school in the seventh and eighth grade (in the fall and spring) and even in high school – when the weather was nice – until I got my driver’s license.
Kudos to my parents for presenting me with an awesome gift in such a unique and fun way!
Gift giving is a part of Christmas, in part, because the Wise Men brought gifts to the Christ Child.
It is also part of Christmas because God first gifted us with salvation – in the Church we call this “justification by grace through faith alone.”
The gifts the Wise Men gave to Christ and his family were given with no thought of a return gift or reward and payment of any kind.
A current sitcom on TV these days has been foisting on the American public the idea that gift giving is actually a quid pro quo kind of thing. One of the characters believes that if he is given a gift that costs $50 he is obligated to give a gift of equal value to that person.
This idea negates the entire idea of gift-giving!
We don’t give gifts in order to get something in return. That’s called bartering, not gift-giving!
We see the true concept of gift-giving very clearly in the story of the Wise Men. They brought gifts to a child who could not return the favor! The Wise Men gave their gifts from the heart, because they wanted to and they, apparently, loved God!
But the true concept of gift-giving is perfectly illustrated and defined by God himself!
Our salvation is a gift. We would be lost forever in our sins and condemned eternally unless God saved us. God’s salvation is not based on anything we do. He didn’t save us in order to receive something from us. He simply (if that word can even be used to describe this) loves us and saves us unconditionally.
We certainly do respond to his gift, no question. Our response is to love God and to love and serve others (which is how we thank God).
When my parents gave me a bike, I thanked them (profusely). That isn’t why they gave me the bike. They gave me the bike because they loved me. And I thanked them because I loved them (still do).
I also knew they loved me because I could see evidence of it in their gift-giving.
We know God loves us because he gave us the gift of salvation in his Son, Jesus Christ!
©2017 True Men Ministries