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Thursday, December 22, 2011

(53) Christmas Gifts

Before you read this lessons take a look at this thought first; http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2011/12/lxxi-gifts-that-never-keep-on-giving.html

Why do we give gifts during this time of the year?  Well, we do give gifts for birthdays but we usually give it to the one having the birthday.  So even though this may be part of it it is not the full reason.  If we look at the story of Christmas, we read that Jesus was given three gifts by the three Magi.  This is probably the reason why we have Christmas gifts today.

It is not the gift but the thought that counts.  That may be a lie.  Gifts should not be given just because you feel the need to give something.  They should not be given because someone gave you something first.  They should not be given to outdo other people's gifts.  They should be given with a purpose and meaning.  What were the gifts given to Jesus?  The Magi presented Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts had a purpose.  They tell the story of who Jesus was.  They were prophetic.  They showed Jesus was going to be King.  They showed that He was going to be the High Priest.  And they showed He was going to be Savior of the world.

GOLD:  A precious metal, meant for decoration.This carries obvious significance. It's precious and worthy across all cultures and times. It's a gift fit for royalty. It says to the Christ child, You will be a King.
FRANKINCENSE: The name for this resin likely comes from incense of Franks since it was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders. Although it is better known as frankincense" to westerners the resin is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-lub ("the milk") a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree. Frankincense has been touted for its medicinal and soothing properties. Herbalists say it is calming, restorative, gently clarifying, and meditative. Frankincense oil is thought to have stimulating, toning, and warming properties. The ancient world used it for treating depression. We recognize the word incense in its name. Ancient people burned frankincense, believing it to carry their prayers to heaven. Its use as incense illustrates His role as our Priest.
MYRRH: This is perhaps the most mysterious of the Gifts. It is a resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in semi-desert regions of North Africa and the Red Sea. Myrrh is an Arabic word for bitter, and it is considered a wound healer because of its strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Calling it mo yao, the Chinese used it for centuries to treat wounds, bruises and bleeding and to relieve painful swelling.  The Egyptians made it famous in Biblical times, having acquired myrrh about the fifteenth century B.C. from Africa where cammiphora trees were abundant. It was used in incense, perfumes and holy ointments and also medicinally as recorded in the Ebers Papyrus. But its most notable use to them was that of an embalming material, used in Egyptian mummies. As an embalming ointment it signified that He was born to Die for the world.  In fact, Myrrh was one of the burial spices of Jesus (John 19:39).

Point being.  Don't just give gifts because of the time of the year.  Don't just buy things that are electronic because that is what the rich are doing and you want to keep up.  Don't just buy brand names so you look better in someone else's eyes.  Buy the gifts that have meaning, that show who the person is and what they mean to you.  Make Christmas real again.

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