I was thinking that I should probably have some blog posts for the Christmas season. After all, since I have all my Christmas shopping done, and oh wait, that was my alter ego talking. Silly me. It’s not really Christmas shopping until you’re ready to cry from frustration at all the people in the stores three days before the holiday. But until my family will accept my “Let’s not get each other presents this year, unless you found something good to buy me,” excuse, I’ll have to keep buying presents.
Presents are fun. I have to admit that I enjoy getting gifts. I know that Christmas is not about me and what I get. It’s about celebrating the birth (or probably more accurately) the conception of the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus.
He is the greatest present ever given. The most undeserved gift. God reaching out to humans. Giving gifts is a great way to remember Christ. (And I use that excuse every year when certain relatives start complaining about the materialism of the season.)
There’s really nothing wrong with getting gifts. Jesus got gifts from the magi. (And we all want to be like Jesus!) In all seriousness, these weren’t just cheap toys on the end of the aisles in Walmart that you grab and throw in your cart Christmas Eve, 7 pm because you have nothing for your brother. These gifts were uniquely tied into who Jesus was and were in no way commercialized or materialistic. They were a three part reminder of His purpose on earth.
The first gift was gold, one of the most beloved and unique metals on earth. The endearing sign of love in wedding rings. The vaunted proof of wealth. The antiquated evidence of monarchial authority.
The magi’s gift of gold symbolized Christ’s kingship. It’s interesting that the magi are only mentioned in Matthew’s gospel, the one uniquely written to show the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, the King they’d long been promised.
They wanted an earthly one; they got a heavenly King. Oh, He’ll be an earthly king one day. The King of Kings in fact. One of my beloved Christmas hymns is “Who is He in Yonder Stall?” and I really like the chorus: “Tis the Lord, O wondrous story, ‘Tis the Lord, the King of Glory, At His feet we humbly fall. Crown him, crown him, Lord of all.”
Let’s face it, God doesn’t have a cash for gold store so that we can bring him our old jewelry. He’s not interested in a rare metal mined from earth. (Baby Jesus, circa 4 AD. “They’re bringing me paving brick? That’s it! I’m going back to heaven!”) The purpose for Jesus coming to earth was to redeem His wayward creation from the slave market of sin. This slave market doesn’t take silver (or gold), but blood. So, what is our gift to Christ for rescuing us from the bondage of sin? That we should let him be King of our hearts. Crown Him Lord of all. What greater gift than the gold of the wise men when he was an infant? A heart of gold: it’s not something you want to just have. It’s something you want to give. To Jesus.