As I place the golden star atop the Christmas tree and lay the presents wrapped in shining silver beneath, I take a moment to reflect upon the beauty of the light and gifts of this season. I’m reminded of a dark time in my life when, twelve years ago, I faced the possibility of terminal illness. In deep anguish, I looked around my home at the antiques displayed and considered all the time I had spent purchasing and polishing them. I envisioned myself soon standing before God, empty handed, wishing I had some gifts to present to him. I had committed my life to the Lord, but I had lived most of it worshipping all the wrong things.
The wise men had traveled some distance. So far, their long journey had been unproductive. They were probably sad and discouraged. As soon as the star reappeared in the sky, their spirits soared, their hearts filled with inexpressible joy, for they knew that their searching had not been in vain. When they came to the place where the Infant King they sought was resting, their spirits knew God’s presence was with them. God’s Light had come into the world. No longer would they wander in darkness. The light of God’s Spirit would now guide them.
There, they honored him in the same customary and respectful way as they would an earthly king. They opened their treasure boxes and offered their most valuable possessions to him. These gifts were presented to him as the King of the Jews, for he would one day be known as a distinguished conqueror and prince of his people.
WORSHIP OF THE KING
At first, God’s gifts to us can appear as misery, but he can turn the worst of places we might find ourselves in into the best spaces to discover his will for us. The medical analysis conducted during my surgery labeled the condition benign. There would be no need for chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Materialism had been the growing malignancy that needed to be eradicated from my soul. During this special time in my life, God allowed the light of the Holy Spirit to rise in my spirit. Compelled to bow down and worship Christ the King, I made a greater commitment to offer him the most valuable resources of my time, talent and treasure.
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11
The gifts given to the King provided the means for the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt and sustained them in a foreign land. Our gifts to God provide what’s necessary for those in the world to face their difficult journeys on earth. Are we busy? Busy seeking after Christ? What if we traded adoring earthly things for laying our treasure before the King? What if we asked God to take our gifts, give them purpose, use them for his glory?