How strange it is that I am posting this right now. I just booked my flight to Texas for my mother's funeral, after many screw ups, delays, and frustrations. It has been a long and exhausting day, and I am beyond tired. I have also been questioning many things today, asking God to please speak to me some way --and then I read the prayer at the bottom of this devotion -- that I wrote weeks ago. I was praying for myself and did not even know it, of course. Blessings, friends.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Why does scripture record the specific gifts? We don’t know for sure, but it seems likely that each of the gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus signified something special about His birth. Gold was a fitting gift for royalty, and it may have symbolized the fact that He was (and still is) the King of Kings. The gift of frankincense, a type of incense often burned at altars, emphasized His divine nature. Myrrh, which was often used in embalming, perhaps pointed to His death on the Cross.
How strange to think that even as the distinguished visitors from the East rejoiced to find the king for which they had searched, a shadow fell across the happy scene. How tragic this seems, as we look back and ponder how the little boy, Jesus, must have looked and behaved. Perhaps he pulled on a beard or played with the bright coins as any curious little toddler might do.
God’s ways are mysterious. Sometimes life’s events are painful and inexplicable. Even though the Christ Child would grow up to be rejected, and ultimately tortured and killed, the shadow of the cross was the beginning of victory. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John understood that Jesus came to be the One who would open the way to victory. Glory turned to tragedy--and then tragedy became glory!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Prayer: God of Mystery and Wonder, grant that aching hearts will be comforted, heavy heads will be lifted, and that those who grow weary will be strengthened. Help us to lay aside our questions and rest in your peace. Give us eyes of faith to see what lies beyond. It will be worth it all when we see you. Amen