Advent Devotional: Second Sunday After Christmas Day

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Set at God's Right Hand on High

January 5, 2020

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem…. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. —Matthew 2:1, 11 (see Matthew 2:1-11)

When God first gave us the marvelous gift of his own redeeming love, there were some learned men who rightly sensed the need to reciprocate. These men were the Magi, the Wise Men from the east who visited Jesus at Bethlehem.

The worship the Magi offered was significant because they were kings in their own right. Thus, by bowing down in worship, they were acknowledging Jesus as King of kings. Their adoration was also the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3).

The treasure the Magi brought was also significant. Gold is a gift fit for a king and a symbol of royalty. Incense was often used for religious worship, and myrrh, specifically, was used in the embalming process. Each of these gifts was uniquely appropriate for Christ because each was prophetic of some aspect of his saving work: gold for his kingship, incense for his priesthood, and myrrh for his atoning sacrifice.

At the first Christmas, gifts of eternal significance were exchanged. The gift of God was a Son to be our Savior. The gift of the Magi was the treasure of the nations, symbolizing the exalted kingship of Christ and his humble, saving death.

When it comes to Christmas gifts today, the most important thing is to receive the gift that God has given—the gift of eternal life through his own redeeming love. The next thing to do is to offer ourselves back to God in worship, the way the Magi did. The treasure we offer is not gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but our lives for his service.

Reflective Question

When you give a gift to someone who has no claim on your generosity, how does it impact the recipient? How does it impact you?

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