Advent Conspiracy Daily Devotion
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The Gifts of the Magi by Rebecca Motley
“On entering the house, (the wise men) saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.” Matthew 2:11-12
The Playskool nativity scene in my house includes the three wise men. My two young daughters play with these figures and talk about Jesus’ birthday presents, which is part of the “popular” story we may tell our children.
In the Bible, though, the wise men were not present at the birth, but arrived later, maybe even a year or two. And, the gifts they brought were much more symbolic than fun or practical for a poor carpenter’s family. The gold was traditionally given to kings and frankincense to priests, while myrrh was an ointment used for burial, foreshadowing Jesus’ crucifixion. They give with no expectation of a gift in return and they leave, following a different road, changed by the experience of being in Jesus’ presence.
So, where then, did we get the idea that exchanging gifts with everyone one we’ve ever met should be associated with Christmas?
This year, we are challenged to “Give More”, while spending less. For me, it will mean thinking of ways to give my children and dear friends the gift of my time and presence, which Jesus gave to us selflessly. In this busy, busy life we lead, the memories to be created can be more precious than gold. For some great ideas on how to do this, go to www.rethinkingchristmas.com.
Take some time this morning to consider the gift of Jesus. Pray that you would be aware of that gift