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Monday, December 20, 2010

When we think about giving gifts at Christmas, we most often trace the tradition back to the Magi, or Wise Men.

Matthew 2 tells us it was the Magi who brought gifts to Jesus:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. ...  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (Matt. 2:1-2 & 2:10-11)

It’s an interesting phenomenon that when we’ve heard a story so many times, and especially one that’s been immortalized in song, that sometimes the details can get fuzzy. Nowhere in this passage does it say there were three wise men, it just says they brought three types of gifts.

The Scripture called them Magi. The term Magi is a broad term, but they were definitely learned men, and likely studied things such as astrology and magic (we get this word from magi).  Although they did not know the one true God, their hearts were open to hear from Him.  These learned men were willing to travel very far to worship the one who was born king of the Jews. They believed that Jesus (they didn’t know His name at the time) was BORN a king. It was His nature.

This is one of the gifts they gave Jesus. Although they had no proof of Jesus deity, they believed! They were willing to sacrifice much, including the dangers of travel, dealing with a crazy king like Herod to follow the star and worship Jesus.

The passage also says that they followed the star to a house. This means they probably didn’t make it to the stable. I’m sorry about that. By the time the Magi got to Jesus, Mary and Joseph were already settled in somewhere in Bethlehem.

When they did find the house, Scripture says the Magi bowed down and worshipped Jesus. They were looking at a child!

Here’s the second thing about the Magi, Matthew 2:11 says, “Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”

I wonder if the Magi intentionally carried those three items to present to Jesus. Scripture doesn’t say they presented him with gifts they had brought, although it's likely since they were looking for a king. But it says out of their treasure they presented him with gifts. Not just any gifts, but wonderful highly valuable gifts.

I’d like to suggest that when the Magi saw Jesus and worshipped Him, they were led to open their treasures and give Him the very best thing they had to give.  Maybe they had brought a variety of gifts.  But when they saw the baby, they gave Him the very best they had.  I think it was a result of their overflow of worship and adoration for this little child that God had revealed to them supernaturally was a king.

The question arises:  Do I worship and adore Jesus so much that from the overflow I offer my best?

This thought challenges me when I want to just get something done.  Is it my best?  And is my heart overflowing with worship?   This week, I'm trying to cultivate a heart of worship and adoration.  I'm mentally worn out from finishing my book, and I'm realizing my heart isn't where it needs to be.  So, I'm intentionally focusing on the worth and majesty of Christ through worship. 

Crosswalk.com offers free music stations.  They have one that's praise music.  Check out this link and listen to praise music with me. 

I hope your Christmas countdown is going well.  I'm headed to the mall this morning.  I'm hoping to enjoy some of the decorations and enjoy choosing gifts for my loved ones. 

In His Love,

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