But the angel said to them, ” don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior is born for you, who is the Messiah the Lord. This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:10-12
“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.” -Matthew 2: 2
It’s that time of the year again when in the North snow covers all from the rooftops to the ground. It’s that time when twinkling lights will appear. The To Do lists are long with meals to prepare, recipes to try, gifts to buy, and ugly sweaters to wear. People are also most unusually pleasant. Yes, Christmas time is here!
When I was a little girl, I would write my Christmas list with all the items I wanted to see under the tree on Christmas morning.
From the dollhouse to the books, there were a good 5-6 items (at least) on this list yet my most precious items could not be listed there. One Christmas, I even remember asking for a husband for my mother (she did not know that) and a new dad for me off course. Unfortunately, this was not the kind of present that could be delivered with a bow under the tree.
In the Bible, there is also an account of a gift that could not fit under a tree. Matthew chapter 2 tells the story of a few wise men who wanted to meet the king of the Jews. It turns out that this king was more of a sweet little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. When the wise men laid eyes on baby Jesus, they fell to their knees and presented him with gifts, costly and precious gifts:
” Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11
Off course, the men did not come empty handed. After all, they were coming to see a king! And a king was deserving of gifts and the most precious of all was the gift of worship. Yes, worship!
The wise men not only brought tangible gifts to Jesus but they also brought a ‘spiritual’ gift, one that could not fit into a box nor under a tree: a heart of worship.
Picture this scene will you?
Mary is holding her newborn child, overwhelmed by the arrival of her son and surrounded by animals because after all “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 KJV). The newborn is wrapped in the most common piece of clothing one could imagine, nothing fancy. Still, before this sweet baby Jesus come the wise men who have traveled a great deal to bow in complete adoration. Can you only imagine how fast their hearts must have raced with the thrill of seeing their long awaited Savior?
For over four hundred years of complete silence (since the time of Malachi), the people of Israel have waited for the Messiah, that great deliverer who would rescue them from bondage and restore the Kingdom and here he laid before them. He was not coming from the clouds in glory, not covered in most expensive robe but he came poor, gentle, and humble in the form of sinful flesh.
On that day, the wise men found the most precious of all, one that could not fit under a tree, though on a tree much later Jesus would die a criminal’s death. When the men saw this precious gift from God, they offered him their gift in return: kneeling before him in worship. Oh that we too could humble ourselves in this manner! Oh that we too would rejoice with such extravagant joy over the gift of our Savior! Oh that we would worship in complete adoration as the wise men did!
This is what Christmas is truly all about! It is not about the gifts we either give or receive, not about the dozen or more events we must schedule and attend, not about the gingerbread cookies, the beautifully decorated Christmas trees or even about a good time with family as wonderful as it may be. It’s about much more than all these things combined together.
This season was made to remind us of the gift we have received through the birth, and coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. It’s about the end of an era of darkness and the coming of light as the Light entered this world. It’s about new life! It’s about God meeting with His people in the flesh, being with His people in the likeness of His creature.
It’s all about Immanuel, which by definition means ‘God with us’. And last but not least, it is about savoring every ounce of God’s promise to us that a Savior would come. And indeed, he came. Since the times of Isaiah, we have waited for this promised King and Christmas time is this beautiful reminder that the promise has indeed been fulfilled. Therefore, we ought to savor every part of that fulfilled promise, glorify, and praise God for His matchless gift.
So today, above all the to do list, above all the events, above all else, remember and do the following:
- Remember Jesus! Remember his birth and the promise fulfilled. He is the reason for the season.
- Tell somebody about this good news that fills your heart, the good news of his coming.
- Love others well and carry this love into the next season.
- Worship the Lord with your whole heart praising him for all He has done.
- And anticipate Christ’s second coming with joy and excitement.
So as you begin to write your lists this season whether they be Christmas gift list, shopping lists or else, would you remember with me the most important aspect or more accurately most important person of this season? Our Savior: JESUS!