December 26, 2007

Gifts Fit for a King

Scripture Reading — Matthew 2:7-12

They ... presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Matthew 2:11


I always have a hard time buying Christmas gifts. I want my gifts to be appreciated by the recipients-and affordable to me! Gift-giving takes a lot of thought. Gift-giving is no easy task!

The gifts the Magi brought to Jesus were equally thoughtful. They brought gifts that "fit" the child's identity. First, gold. Storehouses filled with gold were found in royal palaces. Gold was a gift fit for a king.

Second, incense, probably the resin of the terebinth tree. This incense was often burned with other spices during temple offerings. It was a gift fit for a priest.

Third, the gift of myrrh. Like incense, myrrh was from an aromatic resin. But it was hardly a gift you gave a child. Myrrh was symbolic of death. At his crucifixion, Jesus would be offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh (Mark 15:23). At his death, Jesus' body would be wrapped in 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes (John 19:39).

The myrrh that the Magi laid before the Christchild, then, was symbolic of an unexpected role. This child would become the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. This child would become the sacrificial lamb led to the slaughter for our redemption.

Have you chosen the gift you'll bring to Jesus this Christmas season? Based on his gift to us, the best gift to bring him is our hearts, offered in humility and love.


Lord, "what can I give [you], poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part." As you desire, Lord, I'll give you my heart. Amen.


Devotion topics: Seasons, Christmas