This week I have been contemplating the Christmas story and especially the three wise men and their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child in Bethlehem.
Most artists’ depictions of the three wise men show them dressed in well-designed robes with ornate caps or crowns on their heads. Each man has s a jeweled box or an exquisite small trunk or an elegant glass jar. These containers, one in each man’s hand, carried gold, frankincense or myrrh.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the men presented their costly gifts to the Savior. Mary and Joseph especially may have been struck by the expensiveness of their gifts because those two were very poor. Some theologians speculate that Joseph and Mary, in an effort to escape Herod’s murderous decree, financed their trip to Egypt by selling these treasures all along the way.
Yet, I focused on the thought that the wise men gave Jesus their worship.
Giving Christ our worship is not a concept that was just appropriate for Bethlehem and the wise men, for this is vital for the Christian today.
This Christmas, make a commitment to be faithful to Christ each day of the year.
Consider these gifts of worship to Him, to the Christ of Bethlehem: Gratitude, devotion, forgiveness, praise, service and active love.
Gratitude: Thank God each day for life and His sustaining care. Say with the Psalmist, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
Devotion: Pray and yield to His guidance daily so every activity will reflect a love for Christ. Heed the Apostle Paul’s words: “Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” (Romans 12:1)
Forgiveness: Many people have lived bitter, lonely and depressed lives because of a wrong committed against them years before and they have refused to forgive. They carry that bitterness with them to the end of their lives. Unforgiveness stifles the work of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life. This Christmas, pledge to forgive others who intended wrong toward you. The Bible says: “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31)
Praise: Praise God so He may be made known to others. Accept David’s advice: “… make praise your habit.” (Psalm 64:9)
Service: Be enthusiastic, determined and prepared to serve Him each day. Declare with Mary: “I’m the Lord’s … ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” (Luke 1:35-37)
Active love: Love like Jesus loved. “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. “(1 John 3: 16-17)
Gratitude, devotion, forgiveness, praise, service and active love — these are the gifts of worship we can give this Christmas that honor the Christ of Bethlehem.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: