At Christmastime, most Christians want to give back to Christ somehow, but honestly, they don’t know what He wants. Does God need anything? Doesn’t He already have everything? The answer is a resounding, heralding no.
In this post, we will take a closer look at the three Magi — who gave Jesus something He didn’t have — and, through them, see five gifts we can give to our Savior this Christmas.
Matthew 2:2: Jesus was born in Bethlehem near Jerusalem during the reign of King Herod. After Jesus’ birth, a group of spiritual priests from the East came to Jerusalem and inquired of the people, “Where is the child who is born king of the Jewish people?”
The three kings. The three wise men. The three Magi. These men have gone by many different names over the years. They have shown up in every children’s play and almost every nativity scene. They even have their own epic Christmas song. But who were they?
The original language of the Bible calls them magos. Magos were astrologers, dream interpreters, and wealthy priests from eastern nations like Babylon. They were spiritual advisors to the kings of their countries, and they were priests in their temples.
In the Old Testament, Daniel is called the “Chief of the Magi,” probably the same group. This explains how this non-Jewish group knew to look for Messiah and knew the Old Testament prophecies.
1. Our Comfort
These three so-called “wise men” left their roles as advisors to their kings, left their palaces and fame, to go on this trip of faith that would take months. They left families and friends. They left all their comfort to go and honor the King of Kings.
2020 has definitely been “uncomfortable” for many. Sickness. Political upheaval. Societal struggles. It’s been a painful if not agonizing time.
Here comes the tough question: Are we willing to give up the comfort of our homes to find comfort in Jesus? Are we willing to give up our job titles and household roles to first come under our roles as sons and daughters of the King?
I often stop and ask the Lord, “Is there anything that I am holding on to instead of you?” Then if anything comes to mind, I pray and release it back to God.
He must become my first source of comfort. Nothing else in this world can satisfy.
What do you need to leave behind so you can give more to Jesus?
2. Our Best
I love using the Bibles on my phone. YouVersion and Blue Letter Bible are my favorites! It is so great to have the entire Bible at my fingertips at any moment! But, having it on our phone can also be a MAJOR distraction!
Have you ever noticed that the minute you started to read your Bible, you got a text, call, etc? Mom, or Roommate, or the Bossman called and you had to answer. Bad timing? I promise it’s like a law of gravity that will keep happening.
A physical bible won’t die on me, distract me, or notify me that I got 5 new comments on that post I was tagged in about a cute dog.
Try it out, get a physical Bible with you when you go to read at your consistent time. Put the phone away and on DND and start reading.
I suggest writing in your Bible. For one, it becomes personal. You will notice that you remember what you read more because you wrote a comment or prayer on it.
Secondly, because years later when you read that verse again, you will see what God spoke to you about that verse and you can go even deeper this time!
If your Bible is falling apart, there is a good chance you are not!
p.s. Try to find a version that is right for you! If you’re new to the scripture I suggest NLT, in my opinion, it’s the easiest to pick up and understand.
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The first gift given to Jesus was the gift of gold. Gold, as you can guess, represented kings and deities. To give someone gold was to see them as either a king or a God … or both.
This offering of extravagance proved that these Magi knew Jesus as a King and their God, proclaiming their submission to Him as their Lord and future King. They knew He would reign in Heaven and on earth.
One commentator says, “When gold was presented to Jesus, it acknowledged his right to rule. The wise men knew Jesus was the King of kings.”
Notice earlier in the story, the Magi asked Herod, the current king of Israel, “Where is the child who is born king of the Jewish people?” Their goal was to come and submit themselves to the rightful King.
Is this our goal?
I don’t know about you, but I know that it is so easy to forget Jesus is Lord. How often do we make Christmas, church, and even our faith about us rather than about Jesus?
I have moments when I feel tired, exhausted, and honestly, don’t feel like worshiping or serving God. To be honest, sometimes I stop and realize that all my prayers are about me. My Christian faith can get to be about everything Christ had done, is doing, or needs to do for me. I have to make a significant mindset-shift to make it all about Him.
Believe it or not, I am not the main character of my own story. The Author of Life designed it with Jesus as the main character. I am a side character who gets to interact with the main character.
My life exists to lift him up as Lord.
Let’s not worry about everything we need God to do this Christmas. Let’s give him the “gold” of Lordship and submit to His asking this Christmas.
4. Our Worship
The second gift the Magi gave to Jesus was frankincense, an oil used to anoint the priests. In presenting this gift, the wise men pointed to Christ as their anointed High Priest. They were saying that He is not just a priest of Israel but the High Priest of the nations!
People saw priests as their essential connection between God and humans. By giving Jesus this oil, the Magi proclaimed this Child the connection between God and all life on earth!
Priests also used this oil in temples for worship. Notice when the Magi were asking about Jesus, they said, “We observed his star rising in the sky and we’ve come to bow before him in worship.”
Then, when they found Jesus, “… they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, they were overcome. Falling to the ground at his feet, they worshiped him.”
The Magi gave the gift of extravagant worship to Christ-child.
When most people think of the Magi, they picture three men on camels going through the desert to find baby Jesus. Actually, they were wealthy, protected men traveling with months’ worth of supplies. Most commentators believe a group of around 100 people were traveling with the Magi. This is why the Bible says in Matthew 2: “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”
The entire capital of the nation was shaken and unsettled. This wasn’t just some average men walking into a city. This was much more like the scene in the movie Aladdin when Prince Ali comes caravaning into town with his elephants and dancing monkeys. The whole town would have noticed.
Whenever we extravagantly worship God, people who care more about religion than the relationship get disturbed. Remember when David danced in front of the ark through the streets of the capital city in 2 Samuel 6? People said David’s behavior shamed them, but David boldly answered he would celebrate before the LORD without regard to human judgment — for an audience of One.
Extravagant worship will always offend those whose worship is less extravagant.
Let us check our hearts. This Christmas, give Jesus your extravagant worship as his gift for Christmas. Blast worship music in your car or house and sing out loud. Let people hear you. Let yourself cry, if it feels right. Let yourself laugh. Let yourself show all your love for Jesus — however He leads you. Raise your hands, get on your knees, lay on your face, lift your voice.
What does it look like for you to normally worship Jesus? Now, what would an extravagant version of that look like? Push yourself to give Jesus the worship He deserves this Christmas.
5. Our Lives
The last gift was the strangest of all. Myrrh was not an ordinary gift you would bring to someone on their birthday. People used it for embalming the dead.
By any human measure, it would be odd, if not offensive, to present to the infant Christ a spice used for embalming. If I bought life insurance for someone’s birthday and gave it to them, they might not receive it well.
This gift proclaimed that this baby was born to die.
At Christ’s birth, God already had the Cross in mind. The purpose of this King, this Priest, was to die for us. It’s why Christmas is sometimes called “Advent”: the word “advent” means “coming,” and it refers to both the first coming of the Christ-child and the Second Coming of Jesus for the saved as described in Revelation.
At Christmas, we remember not only the first birth of Jesus, but His second birth: His resurrection after He gives His life for us … and our “second birth” of salvation after we give our lives to Him.
The only proper response to the birth of Christ is to present our entire lives to Him.
Have we created plans for our lives that don’t include Christ? Have we created a dream job, dream home, or maybe a dream retirement, and left Jesus to be a side hobby?
Is our life in Christ merely another ball we juggle and try to balance with everything else? Is our faith only a crutch we lean on when we can’t stand on our own?
Jesus cannot be another ball we juggle. He cannot be another spoke in the wheel of our lives with ourselves at the center. He cannot be a crutch we lean on. We have to drop the balls into His hands. We have to make Him the center of the wheel. We have to make Him the ground we walk on, the journey we undertake, and the destination we aim for.
He cannot be another thing. He has to be everything.
Surrendering your life, dreams, and desires to Christ is what is meant by the biblical phrase “dying to yourself.” It is a heart sacrifice with the goal of Jesus glorified.
When we remember the Magi during Christmas, I pray that it would stir our hearts to follow their example. This season — in fact, let’s do it now — give Jesus our comfort, our best, Lordship, extravagant worship, and our lives.