Summary: Part 1 in series The Three Gifts. Scripture records that the first gift given to Jesus by the Magi was gold – a gift given to a king. But what kind of king is he?
The Gift of Gold
The Three Gifts, part 1
Wildwind Community Church
November 29, 2008
Have you ever had Christmas or Easter sneak up on you? I mean, you’re doing your thing, right? Going to church, and hopefully reading your Bible and getting familiar with God’s Word, and all that stuff, but then one day you think, “Holy cow, Christmas is in like two days!” Then you’re rushing around shopping and getting stuff ready. You show up to church the Saturday before Christmas exhausted because you’ve been working so hard getting ready for Christmas, staying up cleaning, wrapping presents, or whatever. So you rush into church and it’s the weekend before Christmas, and you try to calm yourself down and meditate on the reason for the season and all that stuff, but your mind is racing and no matter how hard you try to focus on God, the fact is you have managed to completely saturate yourself in the busyness of the world over the past few weeks, and now there’s no way you can wring enough of the world out of your head and heart to be able to absorb anywhere near all the God you need in just a one hour service. Only you don’t realize this because you’re so used to living with both feet in the world and then kind of fitting God into whatever space is left that you can’t understand why God didn’t turn your heart into Bethlehem during that one hour and birth Christ there and bring you the peace and joy you have been lacking as you have bustled about during these past weeks, totally sold out to something – that’s for sure – most of which is not God – as evidenced by the fact that it has served to kind of empty you of God to the point that you’re now sitting in church hoping to get a little God poured back in. And a little is of course exactly what you get, because, as I’ve already said, you’re so saturated with “world” that there’s really not much room for “God” anyway, so you leave church kind of disappointed, but hey you tried, and since that didn’t really affect you much you go right back out there to live the way you were living before you came to church – after all there’s stuff to do – and before you know it it’s Christmas Day and up late the night before getting stuff ready for the kids or whatever, then up early with excited little ones, and doing the whole Christmas Day thing and thinking in the back of your mind, “Christmas maybe should be more than this spiritually,” only you’re unsure how to make it so, and so you just keep doing what you’ve always done and before you know it another Christmas has come and gone.
Today we start our Advent series moving into Christmas. Why observe Advent? When we observe Advent we come here each week and say, “It’s getting closer. Christmas is coming.” We have four weeks to be reminded that maybe we’re rushing around too much. We have four weeks to think about something we might want to do to honor God in a special way. Four weeks to consider and maybe plan and take a day for prayer or for silence. Four weeks to read over the story of the birth of Jesus and absorb it, and live into it, and let it get into us. Four weeks. Hopefully sometime during those four weeks we’ll realize we’re doing it again – rushing through Christmas – getting lost in activity – and maybe we’ll put the brakes on and allow the season to be what it perhaps has never been to us before – HOLY.
So each week we’ll light a candle to mark the weeks of Advent. Each week you’ll hear a reading from scripture (like today) and you’ll have a chance to meditate on it and take it in. It’ll be a passage that will be read to you without comment – without teaching. Just a chance for you to sit in church and hear the Word of God read to you, and to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal himself to you. So I invite you to institute something in your life to make these days special. They will only be special if you MAKE them that way. Otherwise they’re just days, and we want to hallow (make holy) these days by ordering our lives differently – putting different rhythms in them! If we do that, I assure you Christmas will mean something this year it has never meant to you before.
So let’s dig in today. We’ll begin by reading the passage on which this series will be based.