January 4, 2009
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 11
For most people, Christmas is long ago and far away.
Nevertheless, I would be remiss in my duty if I didn't offer to remind you that Tuesday is Epiphany, the day the Christian church remembers the coming of the Magi, or Wisemen, to worship Jesus.
Years ago, a teacher I know was reading the story of Epiphany, the non-Jewish Christmas, to her kindergartners. As was her custom, she stopped to see if they understood what she had been saying.
"What do we call the three wise men?" she asked. "The three maggots," replied a bright 5-year-old. Once she managed to help them see the difference between Magi and maggots, the teacher asked another question.
"What gifts did the Magi bring to baby Jesus?" The answer of "Gold, Frankenstein, and Smurfs!" was not quite right, either.
Another explanation was in order.
Truly, it's really not all that important if you know the gifts that these wanderers brought to Jesus almost 2,000 years ago. On the other hand, it is important that you know the great Gift of grace, which God has given to you.
Yes, I know you weren't born back then. I also know that you have received some very nice and probably very expensive gifts over the years. Still, nothing you have ever been given has as much value, or is more important, or to be more cherished than is the Gift of the Savior.
Even if you don't know about gold, Frankenstein and Smurfs, please remember God's Son Who was born to seek and save the lost; and, Who, with His life, death, and resurrection, gives salvation to all who believe, no matter from where they come.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Help me to share the news of this important and valuable Gift. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries