Ever contemplate the gifts of Christ when you admire a creche?
Nativity scenes often imply three wise men visited the newborn Savior on the first Christmas. Scholars believe the visit might have occurred a bit later than the night of Jesus’ birth and no specific number of magi are mentioned in scripture. Our traditional assumption of three men arose from the number of gifts presented to the Christ child.
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, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11
Instead of squinting at exact timing or the number of Easterners on scene, we can focus on the greater meaning of Christmas. Why do the gifts at Christmas matter? Could an ancient exchange provide us valuable blessings today? Unlike other historical events, the birth, life, and death of Jesus carry eternal impact and personal significance for every human being. No matter how many attended the first Noel, each of us can embrace the gifts shared in the incarnation moment.
To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.- John 1:12-14
The magi laid symbolic treasures at the feet of a King, High Priest, and Savior-Lamb. Most scholars concur the gold, frankincense, and myrrh honored these three roles of Jesus Christ respectively. Yet they gave nothing compared to the incomparable gift offered by the Messiah in return.
Jesus laid his glorious form aside and arrived in human form to be placed in a manger, a feeding trough. His sacrifice would save us from death by soul-starvation. For all who kneel before this self-sacrificing King and Priest, Christ would suffer all our shame for us and raise us to eternal position as children of God.
Like the magi, outsiders from the faith can arrive at any time to exchange burdens and minor trinkets to live in God’s perfect love forever. We lay down our dust-molded selves and Jesus gives us a new identity as co-heirs of an eternal kingdom. As we receive the amazing benefits of our new name as Christ’s image-bearers, we can embrace the fullness of all Christmas offers us.
Our restoration as image-bearers of the Lord involves anointing and urgency in our hearts. The Holy Spirit drenches us with power to fulfill the greatest commandment and love as Jesus loves in all three of our relational dimensions. Dwelling in Christ can revitalize our connections with God, self, and others.
But like all gifts, we must embrace and make use of the Spirit’s precious blessings.
Today’s video explores myrrh as the first of the three Christmas gifts which can revitalize us from the inside out.
The ancients applied myrrh when embalming those who died. This Christmas offering highlights the sacrificial nature of the Messiah. When we consider how to honor Christ this season, we cannot neglect the significance of how we demonstrate His nature in our relationships to others. We can share the fragrant blessing of His image when we love sacrificially.
We embrace and offer the Christmas treasure of myrrh when:
- We forgive others.
- We spend precious time with those who feel neglected or lonely.
- We listen to others’ hearts and set aside the need to be heard.
- We give our talents to bless others.
- We share with the needy when no one else sees us.
- We pray for each issue as soon as we become aware of it and continue until we feel God releases us.
- We demonstrate grace to those who cannot or will not return it.
- We seek the Lord for our needs to be met and share all He prompts us to give.
- We weep with the hurting and care about the pain of those around us.
- We visit or send letters to the lonely or imprisoned.
- We check on those who live alone.
- We show compassion for the grieving, even if their loss occurred in years past.
- We volunteer our time and the grace of our hearts with charities or churches.
- We resist the temptation to judge others, even during a hectic season.
- We lay down our own lives without comparing our paths to others’.
Of course this list of myrrh-bearing activities and mindsets remains incomplete. I would love to hear your recommendations for how to love others in the nature of Christ. How would you embrace and offer this sacrificial gift of love during the Christmas season? I look forward to reading your comments.
P.S. Would you like to win a fragrant gift this Christmas? Comment and share this post to be entered to win your choice of a Beautiful Warrior book or a Beautiful Warrior soap! Merry Christmas, my friends!