Every year I face the same dilemma. I get out a piece of paper and think of the people that I should buy gifts for and it turns into some kind of mind-bending exercise. I usually end up with more names on the list than money to spend for gifts. Itís definitely a mental workout for me. Then if you ask someone to give you some ideas of things they would like, you know the response. ďOh, you donít have to get me anything!Ē This further complicates matters. You simply HAVE to buy something now!
Somehow I eventually survive this season of the year. The malls are crowded, traffic is everywhere and there doesnít seem to be enough time to do everything. Why do we put ourselves through it? We set out in search of the perfect gift. I suppose we really like the challenge.
When Jesus Christ came to us gift wrapped in some thrown together linens and placed in a manager, we received the absolute perfect gift. I donít think any of us will be shopping in a stable this year. We wonít likely find the perfect gift amongst the hay. On that first Christmas season, three wise men brought some gifts to Jesus. I donít know if it was on Maryís gift list but the wise men brought Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. What? No baby toys? Diapers? Veggietales video?
Very little gold can be found in Israel itself but it was imported from Eastern Egypt, Western Arabia, Armenia and Persia. Any king would have quantities of personal gold to send with his magi so it must not be assumed that the Wise Men came from that area. Gold was often shaped into objects or coins. It is not known in what form the gold took when it was given to Mary. Neither do we know how much gold was given to her nor what happened to the gold afterwards.
This yellow gum is collected by peeling back the bark of the frankincense-tree. The local source of this was from the plant boswellia sacra, found in in S. Arabia. When the wood is cut it oozes a yellow drop which hardens. These are then pulled off the wood. The resulting resin gives off a sweet scent when warmed or burned. It was one of elements used in the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:34), and was also burnt with other substances during the cereal-offering (Lv. 6:15). Frankincense was placed in purified form on the showbread in the tabernacle (Lv. 24:7). The giving of this incense to Jesus has been interpreted as symbolizing his priestly office. See also Exodus 30:34-38; Leviticus 2:1, 15-16; Matthew 2:11
Like frankincense, myrrh is extracted by cutting and collecting the hardened sap. The stems and branches of the ly shrub, Commiphora myrrha, oozes an oily yellow/brown resin. This plant is native to Saudi Arabia and adjacent parts of Africa. Myrrh was another ingredient of the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:23-33). It was used basically as a deodorant, along with aloes, to anoint a body.
See Also Ps. 45:8; Pr. 7:17; Mk. 15:23; Jn. 19:39
Interesting gifts werenít they? I mean, exactly what could one possibly buy for the Son of God?
These gifts were perhaps good, thoughtful gestures on the part of the wise men but the only gift Christ has ever wanted is you and me. He came because God loves us. No other reason. He doesnít need our money or creative gift ideas or fancy wrapping paper. He just wants us.
So how do we give ourselves as a gift? Should we jump into a giant stocking or have someone wrap us in a huge box?
No. He doesnít want us to come to Him in fancy paper. We donít have to have ďour act togetherĒ before He will accept us. We donít have to meet a list of qualifications before He will want us. He already wants us just as we are. No fancy wrappings. No discount prices. No credit needed.
Christ simply wants our love. He wonít demand it from us but He wants us to love Him freely. We are the creation of God and Christ was sent to reconcile us to Him. Itís all about restoring us to Him. If you have ever had a friend or relative that you truly loved and something happened to cause a rift or grudge, isnít it a great feeling when you are restored back to a right relationship with that person? It is even a greater feeling when we are in a right relationship with God. Thereís nothing that can come close to filling that void in our lives. We all try to fill it with our jobs, our money or our entertainment but the greatest material gift you could possibly imagine opening on Christmas morning cannot compare to His gift of love for you and I. Nothing compares.
Even as Christians we try to fill it with the jobs we do in the church or trying to have a perfect attendance but we find that these things arenít what it is about. We think these things will gain us ďpointsĒ with God but those things arenít the most important things to Him. They are just ods of an outward show on our part. He simply wants our attention. He wants to communicate with us and He desires us to commit our lives to Him.
Give yourself to Christ. He will be satisfied with that. He wonít be standing in a line after Christmas to return you or exchange you for someone else. All He wants for Christmas is YOU.