Summary: A message about the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, and also about the gifts of Jesus to us when we are saved.

The Wonderful Gifts of Christmas

It had been a hard winter in the Appalachian area. The snow had piled up deeper and deeper, the mercury dropped, rivers froze, people suffered. The Red Cross used helicopters to fly in supplies. One crew had been working day after day--long hours. They were on their way home late in the afternoon when they saw a little cabin submerged in the snow. There was a thin whisper of smoke coming from the chimney. The rescue team figured they were probably about out of food, fuel, perhaps medicine. Because of the trees they had to put the helicopter down a mile away. They put on heavy packs with emergency supplies, trudged through heavy snow, waist deep, reached the cabin exhausted, panting, perspiring. They pounded on the door. A thin, gaunt mountain woman opened the door and the lead man gasped, "We're from the Red Cross." She was silent for a moment and then she said, "It's been a hard winter, Sonny, I just don't think we can give anything this year."

As we come upon another Christmas here in 2004, we are again faced with the usual talk:

Where is the real worship of the Christ child?

Where is the love of our Lord and Saviour?

Where is the real meaning of Christmas?

So often we talk about the gifts that we give and receive, and talk more and more about the materialism that surrounds Christmas. We talk some about the gifts that the Magi, also known as the wise men, gave. Let's talk first about these Magi.

I) The Meaning of the Gifts Of The Magi

Matt 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (NKJ)

These men, the Magi or wise men, dug into their treasures and pulled out gifts to give. Some people speak about the gifts that the Magi, (a.k.a., astrologers, scientists, etc) gave regarding the value of the gifts. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were gifts of great cost, but how did this tie in with the coming of God the Son in the flesh?

Each of the three gifts has a special meaning relating to the ministry of Christ.

Gold: This was the most precious of metals at the time, and represented Jesus' royalty. Jesus is, as shown in 1 Timothy 6:13-16 and other verses, the King of Kings!

1 Tim 6:13-16

13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 which He will bring about at the proper time-- He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him {be} honor and eternal dominion! Amen. (NAU)

Frankencense: An incense made from the sap of trees, which was highly valuable, and it represented the incense which was burned in worship to God in the Temple. In fact, it also represents the prayers which we offer up to God:

Rev 8:3-4

3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (KJV)

Myrrh: Myrrh is a perfume extracted from trees in Middle East. It was used to embalm the dead, which speaks of Jesus' death to come at the cross. The word myrrh, the word from which the city of Smyrna in Revelation 2 comes from the word pronounced the same and means "bitterness". The suffering of the Lord on the cross would indeed be bitter, as God the Father and God the Son were separated by the sin that Jesus bore.

We don't really talk about the real, true, best gifts given at Christmas--the ones that God gave to us that night, millinia ago in a stable in the Middle East. And they were perhaps gifts that you may not have considered.

II) Did Jesus Really Bring Peace and Joy To The World?

Have we seen world peace since Jesus came? No. We've seen two world wars and countless other wars and military engagements. Folks, I'm here to tell you that there will always be wars on earth until Jesus comes again because of the depravity of the human heart--the total bent of the human will toward sin.

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