If you are anything like me, you have spent these past few weeks searching for that perfect gift for all the people in your life. Let’s face it, whether at Polaris or Amazon Prime, finding the perfect gift can be exhausting! Just ask the wise men. These “magi” from the east were astrologers and were the first to bring gifts to the infant Jesus. The story of the wise men is shrouded in mystery. They seem to show up mysteriously – and just as mysteriously they are gone. But we know that the wise men have been studying the stars, and when they see a brilliant star in the night sky, they follow it until it leads them to a stable in Bethlehem. And then, as Matthew tells us:
“They went in, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him.” (Mt.2)
What strange gifts for a new born child! But of course, these strange gifts had deep meaning. Gold is the most precious metal – a gift for a king. Frankincense is used as incense during worship – a gift fit for a priest. And myrrh, another kind of perfume, was used in preserving the dead. It was fit for the One who came to redeem us from cradle to cross.
Which leads me back to my gift search. What can I possibly give Jesus this Christmas? His gift to us is just too great; what can we give in return? The answer lies in the gospel: “When they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him.” Here are wealthy, learned men, near royalty of the east, kneeling at this infant’s feet. It is the best possible gift anyone could give. It is the only possible gift anyone could give.
May we all kneel at the manger this Christmas.