Do better, try harder
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.Matthew 2:11 (ESV)
The Christmas story of the wise men is a great one for multiple reasons. It’s where we originally got the idea of giving gifts on Christmas. But there’s so much more to this story than meets the eye. Let’s dive in and see the spiritual principles behind this wonderful moment.
First off, the wise men, or Magi as they were also called, were not believers of God. The term dates back all the way to the Persian Empire in Daniel 1:20. Persia was east of Jerusalem, hence why they were called wise men from the east. The Magi were Zoroastrians, which was one of the first monotheistic religions after Judaism. They believed in one God called Ahura Maza, or the “Wise Lord,” hence the name “wise men.” They studied the stars and were fascinated with astrology and astronomy, as well as prophecies.
God used the Magi’s own personal religion to find Him, the One true God. God used the wise men’s obsession with prophecies to follow the star of Bethlehem based on passages of scripture in Micah 5:1-6, Daniel 9:24-27 and Numbers 24:17. Once they found the King of the Jews, they bowed down and worshiped Him, showing how powerful God’s influence can be. It’s a great example of how the Lord can use those who don’t even know Him to serve His purpose. It reminds us of how God is truly in control of everything and everyone, even those who don’t believe in Him. That’s the power of God.
Secondly, the gifts have symbolic meaning behind them as well. We may not be able to offer Jesus expensive items such as gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but we are told to bring our best before the Lord. We may not be seen as valuable in the world’s eyes, but to God, we are more precious to Him than any gift that can be offered. We can use our spiritual and physical gifts to serve the Lord and to be there for others. Jesus Christ came to this earth as a gift. A gift to save the world through death on the cross and resurrection on the third day.
Just as Jesus gave us the free gift of salvation, we can offer this same gift to those around us. Christ died so we may share His love with our friends, family, and neighbors. We can be a gift to someone else. We can spread the joy of knowing Jesus.
This week, pray about how you can share your own personal gift to the world. Let this Christmas season remind you that it’s all about giving rather than receiving. We have received the gift of Christ, so now we can freely give it to those around us.