As a public service I am providing a shopping guide for things you can give to Jesus on His upcoming birthday. For the internet hall monitors who love to send anonymous and snarky comments I understand that the celebrated date of Christ’s birth is likely off a bit. But since this is when we celebrate we will go with the date assigned.
Let’s be honest…giving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords a unique gift is really tough.
The last post examined the gifts brought to the young Christ child over 2,000 years by the wise men, I had hoped that examining what the Magi brought might jump start our gift giving ideas. Alert readers from the last article remember that the first gift was gold. That is always a lovely gift. But now it gets a little tougher.
Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (Matthew 2:11, The Message)
The second gift brought out of the luggage by the Magi was frankincense. Frankincense is a very costly and fragrant incense. It is a gum distilled from a tree found in the Middle East. It is a white resin or gum, and is obtained by slitting the bark of the “Arbor Thurisfrom”, allowing the gum to flow out (there will be a test). The word actually means “whiteness”, referring to the white colored juice which flows out of the wound in the tree. This gum hardens for three months, and is gathered at the end of the summer, and sold in the form of “tears”, or clumps of hardened resin. Frankincense is highly fragrant when burned. It was burned during worship as a pleasant offering to God. It is interesting to note that this sweet smelling resin comes as the result of the tree’s wound. It is cut open and bleeds to give us the sweet smelling scent. The spiritual parallel is striking. When we can worship God in the midst of our sorrow, our brokenness, then it is a sweet smelling offering to our Lord.
King David wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalms 51:17 )
Much emphasis in worship today is on “celebration”. No time for agonizing and tears, only for shouts of joy and victory. While joyful praise is acceptable and pleasing to God. But the Spirit surely responds to our tears, like frankincense resin oozing out of our broken hearts. Anyone can dance and shout when blessings are flowing, and everything is going their way. But true worship happens when we must overcome feelings of self-pity, fear and doubt. So how can we offer a pleasing aroma to God?
How about giving Jesus the gift of trust for His birthday? You believe that Jesus is the Son of God…that He came to earth as a little baby over 2,000 years ago. That he lived a Holy life and died on a cross as perfect sacrifice for my sin and your sin. I would guess that most of the people who stumble onto this blog believe that. But what I am talking about is really trusting God in every circumstance.
Think about giving the gift of trusting Jesus for every need this coming year. Completely trusting who God says He is and who God says you are when you put your trust in Christ. That He has already accomplished all that you need. Completely trusting that you are a new person and not the same old person remodeled. Trusting that this new identity in Christ gives you power to live and power to not sin.
Paul wrote the the Corinthian church when they began to forget where their trust should remain.
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:4-5, NLT)
You are wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe. Michelangelo made a nearly perfect sculpture of David. The statue’s muscular tension is precisely rendered down to the muscle contraction on his forehead as David is poised to go into battle. It is perhaps the most important sculpture in the world and it was carved from one large block of marble. There an amazing story behind that chunk of marble. Two other artists rejected the block of marble because of imperfections. Michelangelo saw the beauty in that block of marble that others did not. Jesus sees the beauty in you that others might not. Can you believe in a Jesus that can take you, even if you feel like a rejected block of marble, and then lovingly chip away until you become a beautiful work of art? Can you give Jesus the gift of trust on His birthday? Nothing would please Him more.
Author Dave Burchett's latest book is Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. You can follow him on Twitter @directordb.