Giving Our Treasures and Joying Great Joy

December 25, 2018 Christmas, Kelly 0 Comments

…and behold, the same star that they had seen before reappeared, the star they had been watching for, planning for, waiting for. With amazement that all they believed was true was true indeed, they moved forward, and it led them, shining brightly above them and before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. Overcome as they realized, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. They went into the place and saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts — gold and frankincense and myrrh. 

It was the most important event in all the history of the world, an event that literally cut time into two: before this moment and every day after this moment. God entered the world. Of course, He had already been here; from the beginning of time, He had been here, but not like this. It was no longer God and then us; now, God was among us in the form of a newborn baby.

God publicly announced His arrival into the world through a triumphant angel chorus, a life-changing, world-changing spectacle witnessed by unsuspecting men working late. They were unshaven, unbathed, unschooled, with little means and seemingly little to offer. I don’t imagine they were spending their time pining for Jesus; they were doing their job guarding sheep. And, yet, God chose them, gave them all the fanfare the world around them would never had thought they deserved, and allowed them the great honor to be among the first guests beside the makeshift crib of the incarnate God.

They shared that holy stable nursery space with men so very different from themselves. Magi, wise men, or three kings – whatever name you want to give them — it wasn’t just their means that made them different from the shepherds beside them, though that difference must have been significant. Unlike the unsuspecting shepherds, this moment was one they had been waiting for. I imagine it had been the focus of their professional careers, creating blueprints of the skies, anticipating the day that the words of old Scriptures would prove to be true. I wonder if at points during the years of anticipation, they had experienced days of creeping doubt, of wondering if what they were doing mattered, if they’d live to see the Messiah come, if He would ever come.

The announcement came to the shepherds with such sensational fullness that they shielded their ears and eyes. But, to the wise men, the ones who were waiting for it, it came through quiet light alone, a bright but silent star in the sky. The only noise was their own gasps of realization that the day had come and the scurry of their feet as they packed their food and drink and treasures to seek and find the King of the Jews.

When they did, they were overwhelmed with emotion and rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. The original words in Greek translate to they joyed a great joy, very much. It was a joy so big that they fell down and worshipped. Then, they opened their bags and offered their gifts.

Ponder with me for just a moment, wonder with me and imagine what words they may have said when they lowered their heads and lifted their treasures to a tiny baby.

We are overwhelmed. We have waited so long for you, journeyed so far for you. Now, you are here, and we are here not to get what you can give us. We know you can give us so much. But, we are here simply to be with you. We adore you. We want to offer you these gifts, not to earn your favor or to get anything in return. No, we give our treasures to demonstrate and magnify our affection and enjoyment of you. When we give you that which you do not need which we could have enjoyed ourselves, hear us say that you are our treasure, not any material things. And, when we give you that which you do not need which we could have enjoyed ourselves, may we experience more that you are our treasure, not any material things, and may our joy and enjoyment grow bigger, very much.

We know little about the men who followed yonder star. Matthew is the only one who tells us their story. But, even with what little that we know, they serve as an example for the rest of time. They wrapped the first Christmas gifts, prompted by love and joy, and offered them with no strings attached which prompted more joy.

There are odd scraps of leftover wrapping paper laying like confetti on my table and empty rolls of tape beside a tower of colorful packages tied up with string. They make me smile and my heart beat a little fast. I don’t get to hand any to Jesus, but I do get to give them to the people He gave me, the people He set together in this home to be a family, to share a name that says we belong together.

I give my children these gifts not because they were good and earned them or out of some hope or expectation that they now will be in response. I give my children these gifts not because they need them. It is my job every day to get and give them what they need; it’s what I do. I give them these gifts, things they do not need, things purchased with money I could have enjoyed in some way myself, to say that they are my treasures. As I say that, even if their response is less than, even if they only smile a little or not at all, if they don’t overflow with affection in kind, I’m still going to say it. As I say it and practice it, I feel it more and more.

You are my treasure.
You are my treasure.
You are my treasure.

You are my treasure.

And, I believe that He sees it all, and He is pleased. He is pleased with me. He is overcome with affection for me and my intention to love the ones He has placed in my care even when it’s hard. And, He joys a great joy, very much.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains

Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found.

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