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The giver and the gift

Dec 15, 2010, 1:10 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

Many of us will walk through the doors of Christmas blindfolded. We will neither see nor hear what God has in store for us. We will walk in and out of Christmas without hearing the Good News, without receiving the gift of God – that of His Beloved Son come to save humanity, come to give a new lease of life to those that are oppressed, and are broken-hearted; come “to proclaim freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1)

For much of the time, our minds will be set on ‘Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat.’ A commercialised Christmas will occupy centre stage in our hearts focussing more on the social aspects of the event rather than on the essence, which is, the Giver and the Gift. Having a good time becomes a major preoccupation along with the accompanying arrangements. All these trappings of Christmas will deter us from welcoming our Saviour (Matthew 1:21) with open arms.

How do you receive baby Jesus? Would Christmas be just another end of year function, to make merry and exchange gifts? What indeed does this great event mean for humanity as a whole? The phenomenon is not new though. Few received baby Jesus as they should at the announcement of His birth. Few will receive Him in their hearts this season again.  But there is a need for us to begin to see things in their true perspective. The question really is what will we do with baby Jesus this Christmas specifically? Where would we focus our thoughts? Would He be our ‘all in all’, or would we rather thrust Him out of the way and go ahead with the celebration?   

Christ left His heavenly throne on high to come to live as a human being so that the purpose of God will be fulfilled on earth. There could not have been a greater sacrifice or greater love manifested in this manner. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

When the angel of the Lord announced the virgin birth to the shepherds “watching over their flocks at night” he said to them; “Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) Straightaway, they left all they were doing and hurried off to see this event.

They were the first to get to the scene. After they had worshipped, “…Him, they spread the word concerning what they had been told them about this child.”  (verse 17) This event was so amazing they could not have kept it to themselves. Happy to have been associated with the event, they could not but broke the news to others.

After the shepherds, it was the turn of the three wise men – the Magi – to visit. The three wise men looked out for “the baby born to be the king of the Jews. We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2) They followed that particular star from the east. It was a treasure that had a lot of value and meaning for humanity but it went unnoticed because not everyone could interpret stars. Prophecy had it that “a Star shall come out of Jacob...” (Numbers 24.17) They had travelled all the way to Jerusalem to associate with this great event in order to pay homage to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. They were the second group after the shepherds to come into contact with baby king Jesus. They had come as witnesses to learn firsthand about the long-expected Messiah.

Have you been seeking the Lord Jesus, the creator of heaven and earth (John 1:3), God incarnate? All would depend where and how you choose to go in search of Him. For He is the Saviour of the world; and acknowledging Him could make a radical change in our lives. His presence will always go with us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Hebrew 13:5) is the assurance He gives to all who make this solemn commitment to find Him.  

“They had seen His star in the east and had come to worship him.”  They had enquired about where he could be found from king Herod, the reigning king, who was already very upset at the disturbing news of a Jewish king that could overthrow him some day. After consulting however, he was told that the baby king was to be born in Bethlehem, in Judea and as he sent them on their way he bid them to “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” (Matthew 2:8) 

Was king Herod really sincere in his wish to see this rival baby king?