|Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick|
While pondering the word, “Gifts,” I was inspired by listening to this instrumental rendition of We Three Kings while reading all three stanzas of this beautiful hymn… We three kings of Orient are, Bearing gifts we traverse afar. Field and fountain, . moor and mountain, Following yonder star. O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light. Born a king on Bethlehem's plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again, King forever, ceasing never, Over us all to reign. O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light.
Frankincense to offer have I.Incense owns a Deity nigh. Prayer and praising all men raising, Worship Him, God most high. O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding,Guide us to thy perfect Light.
Myrrh is mine: it's bitter perfume, Breaths a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light. Glorious now behold Him arise, King and God and Sacrifice. Alleluia, alleluia! Sounds through the earth and skies. O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light.
Pastor MacArthur continues: "So there was gold, very precious. There was frankincense, a beautiful smelling incense, and there was myrrh, a lovely ointment and perfume. Now the significance went way beyond the natural use of each gift. They were just lovely gifts; very, very valuable. In fact, I personally believe that this poor family, Joseph and Mary, who had nothing, and Joseph was now removed from his job, they were in a little while sent into Egypt, remember, by God. They had no way to support themselves in Egypt. He would have had a difficult time in a foreign culture establishing himself, and I’m very confident that the gold, and the frankincense, and myrrh were the resources, the bank account, that was used to support the little family as they first began, before they made their way finally back to Nazareth and he picked up his old trade. This was their livelihood. This was their support. Gold is a gift for a king. Joseph, when he was in Egypt, who was the vice regent next to the king, it says, was given a gold neck chain. Daniel, the same, was given gold as he stood next to the king. Kings, in the Bible, had crowns of gold, scepters of gold. Solomon had gold all over the place. In a description of Solomon in 1 Kings 10, gold is mentioned ten times. Gold was the gift for a king. What is Matthew telling us? Jesus is a King. What was myrrh? Myrrh is the gift for a mortal. It’s a perfume to make life a little less odorous, to make burial a little less repulsive. Myrrh was the gift for a mortal man. In fact, myrrh was especially the gift for one who would die. He was a man, and he would die. From the very beginning it was clear he would die. Frankincense, a great old scholar, early church father, whose name was Origin said, “This is the gift to God.” Frankincense speaks of deity. Incense was always offered to God. It was a fragrance that rose to God. In the Old Testament it was stored in the front of the temple up in a special chamber, and it was taken and added to the offerings. It was sprinkled so that the sweet savor would rise to God. And in Exodus 30 it says, the incense is for God, not the people. In fact, Ezekiel 16:18 God says, “It’s My incense.” It was used even in the holy of holies. So the Magi come, and by the gold they say He’s a king, and by the myrrh they say He’s a man, and by the frankincense they say He’s God. That’s the beautiful symbolism of it.”
When we think of these precious gifts the Magi brought to Jesus, we naturally ask, what gift can we give Jesus? In Mark 14:3, we read, “Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.” As we read this description of exorbitant devotion, so often we hone in on the fact that this was a costly, dear, and precious thing, a fragrant, expensive perfume worth more than a year’s wages, that Mary lavishly sacrificed in reverencing her King. Yet her extravagance moves us to ask ourselves, what thing that we consider costly and dear might the Lord want us to offer up to him: a relationship? a habit? a cherished possession? Perhaps it is one of the gifts God has given us that lies hidden or saved for use for a time that never comes. These very treasures could bring light to restore someone’s faith, to touch someone’s heart, to change a life. One of these important things could be the very “jar” that he wants us to break before him. Notice, Mary broke open the jar, representing that her life was no longer centered in herself but in Christ Jesus, that she counted Him as the treasure above all others. Is your life a broken jar, the contents poured out in joyful abandonment to the Lord? Of those who live as broken jars, Jesus says, they have “done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).
Lord Jesus, please show me the things that I consider dear and precious that need to be broken so that I, too, may do a beautiful thing to You. The most costly gifts I can give You are my life and my love in ways that are pleasing to You. I give you also the gifts and treasures You have given me, and I offer them up for Your use. Today, let the fragrance of my brokenness bring joy to You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Look In—as you meditate on Mark 14:3 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."
Look Out—as you meditate on Mark 14:3 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ