The prophet Isaiah foretold about a caravan of men who sought out the resting place of a newly born king. Described as Magi, astrologers who were experts of the night sky, these wise men put their faith in the promise of a Messiah. This journey wasn’t based upon a hunch or wishful thinking. Rather, these men came bearing gifts, expecting to find what they were looking for. Upon reaching their destination, this wise men were overcome with joy, worshiping and praising God for Jesus.
A multitude of camels [from the eastern trading tribes] shall cover you [Jerusalem], the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all the men from Sheba [who once came to trade] shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the Lord, Isaiah 60:6.
Each of the offerings brought to Jesus are symbolic of a specific class or state. The gold is associated with kings, the frankincense with priests and myrrh, the emotional state of sadness, used to embalm the dead. Perhaps, this association led Jesus’ disciples to become distracted, confusing the political with the spiritual. Instead of viewing Jesus as the Savior of the World, Peter believed that He would become the physical King of the Jews. This skewed mindset likely influenced Peter to publicly deny knowing Jesus following his arrest.
When they had listened to the king, they went their way, and behold, the star which had been seen in the east in its rising went before them until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy. 11 And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And receiving an answer to their asking, they were divinely instructed and warned in a dream not to go back to Herod; so they departed to their own country by a different way, Matthew 2:9-12.
Nearly 2,000 years later, the world is still full of chaos. However, instead of dealing with tyrannical kings, governors and legislators across the country are instituting strict state mandates on houses of worship and how many members of your family can be in the same home on Christmas. These new edicts are distracting people from the true reason for Christmas. Such as what gift will you be offering up to baby Jesus? While you may not have access to gold or frankincense, everyone has something to offer. Whether it’s a gift, talent or unique quality, God is waiting for you to offer up one of these traits to Jesus. What will you give this year?
by Jay Mankus