Daily Archives: December 17, 2018

Gifts and Giving

In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2, we have an account of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are introduced to the wise men who have been following the sign of the star, seeking Jesus.When they find him, they bring him three gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.Over the Christmas holiday many people will think back to and remember the birth of Jesus. They will also spend time with their families, eat lots (hopefully) of good food and exchange gifts just like those wise men who came bringing gifts to Jesus.

The three gifts the wise men bring are the gold, frankincense and myrrh. There is little information in the Bible about frankincense and myrrh, but we do learn more about ointment (which is like frankincense). In the Gospel of  John, Chapter 12 we see Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with ointment, which is related to the frankincense the wise men gave him. Mary, Martha and Lazarus (the latter having been raised from the dead in Chapter 11) are all gathered together with Jesus. This gives us the picture of the family gathered together around the table, just as so many people will be around Christmas. This is exciting for us, because the whole church is the family. In relation to Christmas, at Christmas time we tend to gather with our families and give gifts to one another, in a similar way to Mary is here, although we don’t tend to give anointing ointment…

One of the most well known quotes about gifts that you may all have thought of already is in Romans Chapter 6,where it says:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in a Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV)

Here we have a gift given by God to the world. We see similar things in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 2. Here we see another gift from God, salvation by grace, through faith. It is important to note that this is not something of our own doing. In a sense we can parallel this with the way that we do not buy gifts for ourselves, but for other people,you give them.

When we meet together over Christmas and exchange gifts we can think of the wise men who long ago came to Jesus bringing him gifts. We can think of God, who has given us the greatest gift of all, eternal life in his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he gave us.