I love to wrap gifts … finding coordinating papers and ribbons, looking for the perfect embellishments and gift tags. I love the way my tree looks with all the presents tumbling from it and the joy of handing someone a present chosen especially for them and wrapped beautifully.
But I’ve noticed something – it doesn’t matter how lovely the paper and bows are if the gift inside isn’t meaningful.
Likewise, a thoughtful, perfect gift handed to someone in a WalMart sack can be the favorite present of the year.
We are constantly trying to impart this simple truth to our daughter: It’s what is on the inside that matters. In gifts and in people.
I suppose that’s why I find such grace in the gifts brought to the Christ Child. The first gift laid before Him was simple, wrapped in shepherd’s garb … presence. These men, who had heard the angels sing, were there, in the stable. That’s all … they simply came to the Babe bringing themselves.
Isn’t that the first step for all of us? We have nothing to offer, nothing of value in ourselves. We bring what we have – our filthy rags of righteousness – and when we lay them down wholly before Him who is Holy, we find ourselves changed, made new.
For if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. 1 Corinthians 5:17
But there are other gifts we find laid before the Christ Child … the presents of the Magi. I’ve heard many explanations for why these gifts were given and what they represented. I love that each word in Scripture is rich with meaning and detail.
However, for this day, may we consider that these gifts may also reflect the presents we bring to our Redeemer?
- The Magi brought gold to the King of Kings, the Son whose Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. May we offer back to the Comforter of widows and orphans from our abundance that He will multiply in His economy the present we offer?
- The Magi brought frankincense to the One who intercedes on our behalf, the Risen Son who sits beside His Father. May our present be the fragrant aroma of our prayers, rising with the sacred incense as an offering to the Most High God?
- The Magi brought myrrh to Him who was pierced for our transgressions, wore our stripes on His back. May our present be the gifting of healing grace and words to those who are weary, weak, and burdened around us, that they might encounter the Great Physician through our faithfulness?
While our wrappings are all different, we can be assured that our Father, who has lovingly created each of us in His own image, desires what is inside each of us. When we begin by giving Him our presence, the overflow of the gifts He bestows on us will be reflected in the multitude of presents we give back to Him and to those with whom we interact.
Our Father, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, on this day we thank You for the most good and most perfect Gift of Your Son … born, crucified, raised, and reigning on high. We lay before You what we have … our presence, our hearts to change and conform as You desire. We offer to You the presents of our abundance – graciously given to us by You, of our prayers – continual connection of our hearts to Yours, and of our words and deeds – humbly used to point in all ways, at all times, to You alone. In the name of Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer, and King. Amen.