Giving gifts at Christmas began with God himself. He gave the greatest gift the world has ever known when he gave Jesus, his only begotten Son. It still blows me away every time I think of God wearing diapers. The one who built the universe allowed his human stepfather to teach him how to build cabinets. The one who wrote the DNA code permitted someone to teach him to write the alphabet. God did not send someone else to redeem us. He came himself!
Giving gifts at Christmas time is a beautiful thing and I believe that giving helps us become more like Jesus. However, don’t get so caught up in the commercialization and greed of Christmas that you leave Jesus out. How can we celebrate the birthday of Jesus and give gifts to everyone but him?
I think we can learn a lot about giving from the actions of the wise men. In Matthew 2:2 they asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” When they found him, “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 2:11)
Giving Empowers Your Worship
Notice that when they came to worship they brought their gifts. The Bible clearly teaches that giving and worship go hand-in-hand. It is difficult to find any true worshipper in the Bible who did not also give. That in no way suggests that we “buy our way into” God’s presence, but rather it shows the true gratitude of a redeemed heart. Simply put, we always give to those we love. Make sure that you don’t forget to include Jesus this Christmas. Regular tithing and generous giving is a part of worship. Anyone can feel emotionally moved through music and speaking but generosity lays the foundation for true worship.
Giving Flows From God’s Grace
The wise men were non-Jewish foreigners. This beautifully represents the fact that God’s grace brings joy to the whole world. God’s gift was not limited to the religious elite. It was meant for the whole world. The Book of Isaiah, when describing the future glory and finished work of Jesus, tells of nations, people, and leaders from the whole world that will, “bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.” (Isaiah 60:6). When we give to Jesus through a biblically functioning local church we help bring the Good News to people across the globe.
Giving Positions Your Life Around The Gospel
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were traditional gifts that were given to honor kings and deity in the ancient world. Gold is a precious metal that represents kingship. It also represents God’s provision for us and our total dependence upon him. Could the gold they gave have helped finance the family’s trip to Egypt to escape Herod’s madness? The enemy tried to stop what Jesus was going to do but the generosity of these wise men helped ensure that the gospel would not be defeated before it started. God uses people who give to spread the gospel!
Frankincense was a perfume or incense that represents the priestly role of Jesus. It also has healing qualities and was used medicinally in the ancient world. Jesus is our king, he is our priest and he is our healer!
Myrrh is used as anointing oil. Jesus is the Anointed One. It represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It was also commonly mixed with wine. The wine of God’s wrath was satisfied when Jesus paid for our sins with his own blood.
Giving to friends, family, and loved ones is a tradition that I love. But the most important gift you will give this Christmas is the gift you give to Jesus. When you celebrate his birthday don’t leave him off the gift list. Giving empowers your worship. I hope you will truly worship our King, Redeemer, Priest, Healer, Provider, and Savior this Christmas.