This week I have reflected quite a
bit on the LJA Christmas program
that we were blessed to experience
last Sabbath. As I have
played it over again in my mind,
one of the things that caught my
attention was really at the very
beginning. The first 3 comments
were all about what each person
was going to ‘get’ for Christmas.
“I’m getting a new ps5”, “I have a
feeling I’m getting a new Apple iPhone 13 pro”,
“Well, I’m getting a new gaming laptop”.

There’s nothing wrong with any of these items being
a Christmas gift, however, I think we would likely
wonder about the gifts not seeming to hold any
mystery. I grew up with the understanding that a
Christmas gift was something that was very special
as it represented a genuine desire in the heart of the
‘giver’ to share a gift that would hold meaning for
the ‘recipient’.

Kathie’s dad was someone who would absolutely
not give a gift that was specifically requested. However,
he did make observations over the months
preceding Christmas as to potential gifts that might
be especially appreciated. Christmas gifts were so
much more meaningful when they brought a sense
of surprised gratitude to his children.

Yes, the idea of sharing gifts has undergone
significant changes over the years. In many ways,
Christmas has become just one more
opportunity to ‘get’ whatever one wants.

In our sermon study this week we will take a look at
the last half of the story of the ‘Wise Men’ who
traveled a great distance to find, and worship,
Jesus. One part of their story that always stands
out as being rather interesting is the gifts that they
presented when they met Mary and Jesus. Attempts
To explain the significance of the ‘gold, frankincense,
and myrrh’ are merely suggestions as to why
they may have been chosen.

The reason that it was important to these travelers
to give gifts upon their arrival may have a cultural
reason but it really seems to be an expression of
their worship. They didn’t ask Mary what she wanted,
or place several different items out for the toddler
Jesus to select, but they did give what they
were ‘prepared’ to give.

While their gifts are likely the inspiration for our
practice of ‘gifting’, I believe that we would be
blessed by remembering these words of the apostle Paul,
“Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift”
as He confirms that Jesus is the Best Gift
that we have ever been given.

Merry Christmas,
Pastor Phil