By Melissa McLaughlin
The Gift of a Child
How their innocent eyes twinkled with glee! I remember with such fondness, the days when my children were preschoolers and brought me gifts for Christmas. They rummaged through the toy box and selected a treasured gift to give. With little fingers, they wrapped the items in Kleenex tissues or cloths from their doll beds and presented them to me with all the love in their hearts.
Little hands, big hearts.
I unwrapped their gifts with overflowing joy in my own heart. Together we rejoiced with “ooohs and ahhhhs” at these small gifts presented with great love.
It didn’t matter that everything they gave me was actually supplied by me to begin with. They understood the idea of giving a gift and wanted to experience the pure delight of giving.
The Gift of God’s Son
As I recount the gifts God has given us, I feel like a tiny child, presenting back to Him, that which He has abundantly given me.
When I think of God’s greatest gift, His Son, I think of the wise men who traveled from afar to worship the newborn King.
Matthew 2:1-2 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:9b-11 – And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
I am struck by two things in this passage. When the wise men saw Christ, they fell down and worshiped Him. I ask myself, “When is the last time I fell down and worshiped Him?”
Secondly, I wonder at the great gifts they presented to Christ. “Opening their treasures, they offered him gifts…”
When we want to express our affection or appreciation to someone or demonstrate how much they mean to us, we may give a gift. Our presents are an attempt to offer something of worth to represent how much we value the person. The greater our love and appreciation, the more sacrificial our gift may be.
The Gifts of the Wise Men
Gold: An expensive and valued commodity. Yet we know gold also symbolizes royalty and it is used in the Temple to cover the most sacred objects of worship. (Exodus 25:10-17)
Frankincense: A white resin or gum that is harvested from a tree by making a cut in the bark and allowing the liquid to flow out. A fragrance emanated when burned, so it was symbolic of Christ as a burnt offering unto the Lord, for our sins. (Exodus 30:34)
Myrrh: This was also obtained from a tree and was used as an embalming spice or sometimes added to a drink. Like that offered to Christ on the cross. Considered to symbolize Christ’s suffering and death. (Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:34)
These prophetic gifts foreshadowed Jesus as both King and Sacrificial Offering.
The One who made the gold, received a gift of gold, though His earthly crown was made of thorns.
I imagine that scene, with powerful men lying prostrate before the tiny child King. They worshiped with their bodies, bowing low. They worshiped with their time, for they had committed to a long trip. And they worshiped with their resources, offering prized possessions from among the wealth of their treasuries.
The Gift of Worship
I can’t help but see divine glimpses of our King that echo back and forth between earth and heaven.
For in Revelation, we see the vision of a throne room with worshipers gathered once again, falling down before this same King.
Revelation 4:6b-11 – And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
They fall down and worship Him.
They cast their crowns before the throne.
Revelation 5:8-14 – And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
They fell down and worshiped.
What gift is worthy of our Savior and King?
What gift can we give to the One who gave us life, all its earthly blessings AND gave us eternal life with all the blessings of heaven?
The Gifts We Bring at Christmas
Though we may give our time, our earthly talents and resources, like a child, we can only give back a portion of what God has already given to us. May we bring all we have, all we can, for our Father in heaven has a giving heart and He rejoices with us as we share in the joy of giving.
May we also bring Christ our most valued gift… the gift of our heart. May we bring Him our praise, thanks and worship. Whole body, whole life, whole-hearted worship.
As we reflect on Christ’s first coming this Christmas season and anticipate His second coming, may we bow low to worship our Savior and King. May we imagine that Day when we will join with all the angels of heaven and fall down before Him in the throne room of heaven. Worthy is the Lamb!
From the cradle
to the cross
to the throne room of heaven,
Jesus Christ is KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS!