Summary: What was the most valuable gift that was given in the story of the wise men? And what can we learn from the gifts that were given?
(This sermon was preached following a Christmas cantata, and time constraints forced us to sing only one congregational Christmas song. To compensate for this, I included 3 Christmas carols/hymns in the sermon).
OPEN: Someone sent an e-mail that made a list of Christmas Signs they’d seen in their city:
- Outside a church was a sign that read: “The original Christmas Club.”
- A Toy Store declared: “Ho, ho, ho is spoken here.”
- In a Bridal Boutique: “Marry Christmas.”
- A reducing salon proclaimed: “24 Shaping Days until Christmas.”
- A jewelry store advertised: “Diamond tiaras: $70,000. Three for $200,000.
- And on an Office Supply Store sign: “For the man who has everything: A calendar to remind him when payments are due.”
(From: Mikey’s Funnies mikeys-funnies-owner@YouthSpecialties.com)
One of the biggest challenges of Christmas is finding just the right gift for a person you love. When I buy a gift, I try NOT to buy “gift cards” unless that’s what they want.
I’d rather buy:
- something personal
- something I believe they’d want
- something that I’d want if I were them. That way, if they don’t want it, they can give it back to me.
In Matthew 2, we read the story of a group of Wisemen who’ve traveled a great distance to find a new born king and give Him special gifts that they’d picked out just for Him.
There’s an old Hymn called “We 3 Kings Of Orient Are”
(SING IT WITH ME)
“We 3 kings of Orient are – bearing gifts, we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star
O, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading still proceeding, guide us with thy perfect light”
The song goes on to tell of the 3 gifts that the Wisemen offered…
The 2nd verse says: “Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown Him again”
Then the 3rd verse: “Frankincense to offer have I - Incense owns a Deity nigh. Prayer and praising all men raising worship Him God most High.”
And the 4th “Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, sealed in the stone cold tomb.”
The song points out that each of the gifts the Wisemen brought had a special message:
• The gold spoke of Jesus being the King of Kings, for gold was the kind of gift you gave to kings.
• The Frankincense was offered to Him as unto God. For this was a perfume that the Israelites offered in their offerings at the Temple TO God. And scripture tells us that Jesus was to be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”
• And the Myrrh was a perfume that was used as part of the embalming process, and it predicted the reason Jesus came – to die on the cross for our sins.
There’s a saying that “it’s the thought that counts”.
And the Wisemen gave a lot of thought – not only to their gifts - but to the journey they were undertaking in their search for this newborn King. Bear in mind, they had no idea where this king was born, nor how long it would take to find him.
In fact, being Wise men – when they arrived at Jerusalem – they asked for directions. Matthew 2:2 tells us the Wisemen asked Herod: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”
So, they gave a great deal of thought to this new King as they searched the skies looking for the star. And they gave a great deal of thought to making their preparations for the long journey to find Him. And they especially gave a great deal of thought to the gifts they brought to this child, because they knew - from the prophecies - that He would be a great King.
Now, I don’t know if the Wisemen fully understood the significance of the gifts they brought, but I do know that God was so impressed with their gifts that He recorded what was brought in the pages of His Scriptures. And I believe this was not only done because of the symbolic nature of the gifts, but also that WE might realize their value to God, and how deeply moved He was that they brought these gifts to His Son.
Now, there might be those who believe that it was the earthly value of these gifts that impressed God. But of course, that’s absurd. God owns the Cattle on a 1000 hills – He didn’t need their money and more than He needs yours or mine.
The repeated theme throughout Scripture is that God many times prefers the poor to the rich. God constantly warns His people