December 25, 2019
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. PSALM 95:6
. . . where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. MATTHEW 2:2
The long-awaited day is here. For weeks we have all been preparing for this great day of celebration. The Christmas programs are over. The cookies are baked. The tree is trimmed. The shopping is done. And the gifts are ready, just waiting to be given—and gotten. I am sure that in the last few days you checked your Christmas list many times so that you didn’t miss anyone. Double checked it to make sure you had bought each and every present for those on your list. And now it is over. If you missed someone or were not able to get that one special gift, now it’s too late. So tell me, did you get anything for Jesus this year? Was He on your Christmas list? You know it is His birthday we are celebrating. What could we give Him? We all seem to struggle with this at Christmas and end up overlooking Jesus on the very day we celebrate His coming. We get busy at church or in the kitchen or under the tree, and we fail to consider our Lord and Savior. We don’t mean to or choose to or want to. But we get so busy with the celebration itself that we sometimes forget whom we are celebrating. This year, what can we give Jesus? What would He want?
This wonderful account recorded by Matthew helps us understand exactly what Jesus wants for Christmas. What is it that the wise men gave Him? Many would say frankincense, myrrh, and gold. But look carefully. Why is it they came? That’s right. It was to worship the King of the Jews. That’s what our Lord wants from us this Christmas—our worship. The Magi traveled all those miles to see, not a child, but a King. And their response was to worship Him. They understood the truth of the Christmas hymn, “Though an infant now we view him, / he will share his Father’s throne, / gather all the nations to him; / every knee shall then bow down. / Come and worship, come and worship, / worship Christ, the newborn King.” This Christmas, our great Lord and Savior wants our worship— that’s all. Just like the wise men knelt before Him so long ago, we need to come today and bow before Him. The three gifts the Magi brought help us understand exactly Who it is we worship this Christmas.
The little child the Magi worshiped, and the Jesus we worship today, is not just another man who walked on this earth two thousand years ago. He is the incarnate Son of God, the One Who created us and everything we see and smell and touch. He is very God of very God. The Magi’s gift of frankincense to the young child Jesus pointed to Him as the Son of God. This costly, fragrant perfume was used only on the most special of occasions and for worship. Throughout Scripture, the burning of incense represents the offering up of prayers and praise to Almighty God. So the Magi’s gift demonstrated that Jesus was worthy of worship because of Who He was—the Son of God. Today we must stop and reflect on all that means to us. Because of the marvelous truth that “. . . in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), those who know Him as Lord and Savior have a sure salvation, power over sin, a glorious message, and much, much more. I believe Michael Card said it well when he wrote these lyrics, “Immanuel, our God is with us. And if God is with us who can stand against us? Our God is with us, Immanuel.” This is the One we worship today—Jesus, Immanuel, the Son of God.
It is true that when the Magi came to Bethlehem, they bowed before the very Son of God. But just as true is that they came and bowed before a child who would one day become a man. And this Jesus, the Son of Man, was beaten and punished, suffered, and eventually died on the cross for our sins. The gift of myrrh brought by the Magi to the young Jesus demonstrated His humanity. Myrrh is a bitter spice used in Jesus’ day to prepare a body for burial. Their gift of myrrh looked forward to the day the Son of Man would suffer and die as a man for your sins and mine. On this Christmas Day, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus as a baby, we must never forget what He suffered as the Son of Man on our behalf, the pain and sorrow He went through to provide for us so great a salvation. If it were not for the Son of Man, we would never know salvation, because “. . . without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). So today let us worship Him as the Son of Man Who purchased our redemption through His suffering and death.
There is no doubt that the baby whose birth we celebrate was no ordinary child. He came as the Son of God and Son of Man, but there is more. The words from “What Child Is This?” say it so well. So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh; / come peasant, king to own him. / The King of kings salvation brings; / let loving hearts enthrone him.” He is the King of kings. It is clear that when the Magi came to Jerusalem, they were seeking a king. Their gift of gold, the most precious of metals, indicated that they understood the one they would find was royalty. But what they may not have realized is that the child king they bowed before was none other than the King of all kings. This Christmas as we celebrate Jesus’ virgin birth, His sinless life, His sacrificial death, and His triumphant resurrection, may we keep in mind that one day He will return as King of kings. On that day “. . . every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those in earth, and of those under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). And we will reign with Him forevermore. This year, let us remember to give Jesus a very special gift. Let us worship before Him today as the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the King of kings. It is the only thing He wants. And it is a gift He richly deserves!
Have everyone in the family make a list of at least five things they have because Jesus came to earth, died for our sins, rose again, and reigns in heaven. Then gather around the Christmas tree and sing “He Is Lord!” Conclude this time by thanking God for what He has done for you through Jesus Christ.
Take advantage of the related activities and resources at ExperienceChristmas.org.