The exchange of gifts at Christmas is something special at any age. The pleasure of giving and receiving with those I know best and care about most never gets dull.
But that specialness ramped up to a whole new level once I had kids old enough to understand it. There’s nothing quite like the wide eyes, squeals of delight and acrobatics that come with each package they unwrap. Even better, I get to witness how intensely they desire to please with the gifts they give.
Wise men giving
Then I think about the gift-giving that happened when Christ was born. Of course, His birth was the ultimate gift from God. But the wise men’s responsive giving was a thing of beauty too.
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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.” (Matt. 2:10, NIV)
The wise men probably didn’t give the gifts to impress the child. They wouldn’t have believed the recipient, being so young, could understand the deep symbolism of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They were overjoyed because they knew who he was and they had found him! They got to honor him with gifts. What a privilege to “open their treasures” and present gifts to this special one who they believed was worthy.
The description of this moment of giving by the wise men is really brief, but it speaks volumes to me. There’s no hint of obligation or perfunctory habit here, not a trace of quibbling over the amount. Just a joyful, reverent sense that at such a moment, an offering is so right. A gift to honor Him is a pleasure.
If only my giving to God was always in that posture! I’m supposed to understand the worthiness of this King so much better than these pagan sages did. Yet, all too often my giving is tepid by comparison.
When I give to my church or to a ministry, it easily devolves into something less. It’s a habit I believe is important, an act of budgetary management. It’s a way I can help those in need (being careful that I don’t deplete my storehouse too much). It’s something God calls me to do, so I do it . . . These wise men jolt me back into realizing it’s supposed to be a joy-filled act of worship, a special time to honor the King.
Give to the King!
So this Christmas, get out the FH Gift Catalog and give those cute ducklings, a pack of Bibles, or a community well. Dig into your portfolio to find the right gift of stock at this year end. But most importantly – whatever kind of gift you land on, give it like a wise man. Be overjoyed as you worship the King!