The excitement of Christmas is in the air. There is a buzz around all of the holiday activities, Christmas parties, family gatherings and of course, shopping for gifts. Finding the right gifts for extended family can be a real challenge. Questions abound. “Is it Aunt Martha or Aunt Judy that is allergic to nuts?” “Did we give Cousin Billy socks last year?” “How many kids do the Smiths have now?” “Is their youngest a boy or a girl?” Conclusion: it can be really hard to find the perfect gift for someone when you hardly know them.
With all the pressure of trying to find the “perfect” gift for someone, it might be helpful to remember the simple idea behind a gift. A gift should be a display of friendship or love for someone. In other words, the “perfect” gift is not the most exciting, the most desired or even the most expensive. The perfect gift is the one that best matches the attitude of the heart of the giver. For example, the gifts that my wife most appreciates from me are the ones that show something of my love for her and my desire to encourage as a wife and mother. Some of those gifts are not even purchased.
The perfect gift is the one that best matches the attitude of the heart of the giver.
Matthew 2 has something similar that is taking place. We know that a major part of the chapter tells the story of the wise men (“magi”) that came to visit the child, Jesus, along with his parents. From the beginning of the chapter they state their intentions. As they enter Jerusalem, they declare that they are looking for the one who is born the “King of the Jews” so that they can “worship Him.” Two things are immediately striking about their intentions. First, they are not Jews, and yet they come to pay homage to the King of the Jews. In this way, they represent the many of us who have come from the nations and have submitted to the reign of the King of the Jews. Second, their intention is to worship Him or pay respect to Him. Since He is just a child, they are surely not here to negotiate a peace treaty nor are they attempting to bribe Him for courtly favors. The humility of His surroundings surely demonstrates that this king has no political potential or military prowess.
King Herod and all of Jerusalem are perplexed by what is happening and the king even plots against the child through his deception of the magi. However, the magi remained determined in their quest. When the star leads them to the place where the child is, they do not find a child pampered in palatial surroundings or fawned upon by courtiers. In spite of the modest setting, the magi rejoice greatly in their hearts upon finding the child. In dramatic fashion, the pure joy of the magi moves to humble worship before the child (2:10-11). With worshipful hearts, they offer the child gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts are perfect not simply because they represent something about the child or because of their material value, but because they fit perfectly with the worshipful hearts of the magi.
What gift would reflect the attitude of your heart toward Him?
This Christmas, will you seek Jesus? What gift would reflect the attitude of your heart toward Him? Remember, it is hard to give the perfect gift to someone you hardly know. Worship Him with great joy.