Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Mid-Week Message - The First Gift of Christmas

"When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!  They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."  Matthew 2:10-11  (NLT) 

Time for shopping is almost at an end for the holiday season and in most homes there are brightly colored packages beneath trees that are decorated in various styles.  In just a few days families will gather, gifts will be distributed, wrapping will be torn off and the mysteries of the packages will be revealed.  

I can remember that time in my life when I thought Christmas would never come.  As most children do, I loved the anticipation leading up to that special day of the year.  Actually, I still do.  There is still the little girl part of me that finds the season magical although for different reasons than when I was a child.  

One of the most loved songs of the season is "The Little Drummer Boy."  Among the pa-rum-pa-pum-pums is the story of a little boy with a drum who finds himself before the manger where Jesus is lying.  He sees the gifts that are given and wants to offer something himself but has nothing but his drum.  So, he begins to play for the baby.  The lyrics tell us that Mary nodded, the ox and lamb kept time and then Jesus smiled at him. 

What gift would you give the King of Kings if you found yourself before Him?  The wise men gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Not only were they costly, they held symbolic meaning for the life of the Savior.  Gold was a symbol of kingship on earth.  Frankincense symbolized deity and myrrh, which was used as an embalming oil, referred to death.  Can you give Him anything as valuable?  

The very first Christmas gift was a baby that was born to a young girl in a stable.  This child, the foretold Messiah, slept in a feeding trough rather than a gilded crib in a grand castle.  Word of His arrival was announced to shepherds, not nobility.  Rather than living as a rich man, He lived a humble life and died a cruel death.  And He did it all for you and me so that we could have the ultimate gift of the forgiveness of sins, the restored relationship with the great I Am and eternal life with Him in Heaven.  

We don't know the actual date of the birth of Jesus.  In all likelihood it was sometime in the spring rather than winter, but we celebrate it on December 25th.  We give gifts to those we love because of what He gave to and for us.  The greatest gift we can give to Him is receiving Him as our Savior and sharing His good news with all we come in contact with.  There is no other gift that carries as much love as the Gospel.  

As we gather to share in the wonder of Christmas, let's first acknowledge the most wonderful gift of all and ask Him to be the center of our day.  Merry Christmas and God bless! 

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