The hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays creates excitement. There’s a lot of joy that can be experienced in preparing to present family and friends with gifts they’re expecting, or ones you think they’ll love. The process of preparing your home for the holidays can also be inspiring with the vast amount of decorations that can be coordinated with a variety of color schemes.
The anticipation of opening your gifts is another surprise to look forward to after expressing your gift desires. You may have made your list and checked it twice to make sure that you don’t forget to purchase someone’s gift. This list may consist of your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, children, siblings, parents, co-workers, and friends.
While this is good in a general context, if you look over your list and notice that the main person – Jesus is not on your list, maybe you should think about what you can give Him for Christmas. It may seem a little illogical to go out and buy Him a present, but what if you prepared your home to represent Him? Many go out of the way to create attractive Yuletide themes for their homes and drive hundreds of miles to shop or to visit others for the holidays. However, many forget the primary reason the holiday exist.
Matthew 2 tells about wise men who traveled from the east to Jerusalem. Upon their arrival, they asked about Jesus’ birth location. King Herod heard about their inquiry and became very interested in knowing who this child was. Threatened by the news that someone else could possibly take his place as king, he gathered his chief priests and scribes to send out a search party. He also called for the wise men and interrogated them about the details they had regarding Jesus’ birth. Assuming that he had gained their trust after he consulted with them, King Herod instructed the wise men to continue their journey. He also advised them to return to him to give him a report on their way back home so that he could go … “and worship Him also” (Matthew 2:8).
Guided in the Right Direction
The wise men did not just hope that Jesus would come. They believed, prepared, and traveled to meet Him. The wise men knew that Jesus was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16). The wise men’s journey was long, but despite the tedious trip, they persevered until they reach their destination. When they asked for directions prior to locating Jesus, they were diligent in preserving the … “gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11) they wanted to give Him. After locating Jesus and spending time with Him, they rested before going back home. While they were resting, God instructed the wise men in a dream to take a different route on the way back to their country. The warning saved Jesus’ life particularly since King Herod had executed a decree to kill all the children two years old and younger who lived in his country after the wise men did not return to give him a report as they agreed to. If the wise men had not followed the directions given to them by God, Jesus’ mission to save us from our sins would not have occurred.
Another active participant in helping Jesus to fulfill His mission was Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather. He was given the responsibility to protect Jesus. Joseph was also prompted by an angel who invaded his dream during the night. The angel instructed him to … “take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt” (Matthew 2:13). This instruction also saved Jesus from sudden death. After staying in Egypt for a while, Joseph was advised by an angel to go to Israel because King Herod was dead. However, before they could settle there, he heard that King Herod’s son, Archelaus (vs. 22) was his father’s successor. God then directed him to go to Nazareth located in Galilee where they lived in safety. These strategic moves allowed Jesus to grow and wax strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him (Luke 2:40). As a result, He was equipped to begin His ministry when he was 30 years old.
Protect Your Gift
Joseph and the wise men took pride in protecting their gifts. Joseph was the physical protector of Jesus while the wise men protected gifts that would sustain Jesus. So often we look to material gifts to give us confidence and complete satisfaction particularly those which we can display to impress others. However, Jesus came to give us peace that cannot be found in material gifts (John 14:27). Although external gifts are an excellent way of showing our love to each other, don’t forget to follow His life principles which can be the best gift to give Him. Your gift may be encouragement, preaching the gospel, singing, teaching, cooking, caring for the elderly or children, or something else. Whatever it is that you feel that God has given you, protect it. John 10:10 says that the … “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Don’t let the King Herod spirit kill your joy, peace, and desire to cultivate the gift God wants you to share with the world.
If someone is threatening your life, productivity or creativity, take another route so that you can fulfill your calling. There’s plenty of room in the world to be who you are. You don’t have to smother your gift just because someone you know feels threatened by your ability to outshine them in a positive way. Some people may not want you to have a chance at using your voice to make a positive difference, but there are others who are waiting on your arrival and will be glad to hear what you have to say.
Gifts That Shine Bright
Think about giving gifts that can make a lasting impression such as those that can help someone become a better person instead of only focusing on external styles. Consider buying gifts that can guide your others in the right direction. When Jesus was born, there was a lot of chatter going on among the shepherds, wise men, chief priests, scribes, and King Herod. Some of the chatter was joyful while some of it was malicious. Those who listened to King Herod complied with his order to execute young children while those who focused on Biblical prophecies focused on preparing for Jesus’ arrival.
There’s also a lot of chatter going on these days that can cause people to go in the wrong direction. Let your light shine this holiday season just as the star in the east guided the wise men toward Jesus. Protect the gifts that God has given you by not letting selfishness, pride, or competition reign in your heart. In other words, King Herod’s motive for locating Jesus was not to honor Him, but to get rid of Him. Be a sincere compass to those who are lost spiritually and emotionally. You may be the only bright star someone sees in the midst of a perceived dark world of hopelessness. Don’t get too busy that you forget the One who helped you become the great person you are today.
Be Blessed and Share the Love!