Sunday, December 16, 2012

The GIFT Under The TREE - The One Neglected Annually

Matthew 2:10-12
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy,
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh
.


As the year draws to a close, we are once again anticipating another celebration of the birth of Christ - even though we who are well versed in the Scriptures know that He was probably born either in late Spring or early Fall, depending on which source is cited. Nevertheless, December 25th is recognized the world over as the day of Christmas.

What is becoming less recognized is the One for Whom we set this day as special. Too much of Santa Claus, too much of Frosty and Rudolf; too much of glistering trees and wreaths, mistletoe and holly - and of course WAY TOO MUCH of commercialism and "buy, buy, BUY! On sale now! And get these while they last!"

There is certainly an element of truth in the words spoken by none other than, uh... well, the Grinch...
Check out his speech on youtube on the 'Whoville meaning of Christmas' that very much reflects our own materialistic ways regarding this 'Happy Holiday':
The GRINCH SPEECH ON GIFTS

Of course the film then goes on to show that the real value in such times as Christmas is 'family' in the secular sense. However, once again, those of us who are well versed in Scripture know the REAL REASON for the SEASON, don't we?

So did the Wise Men who came "from the east" - that is, from what is known as the Parthian Empire - a derivative of the ancient Medo-Persian Empire, the only nation that could make the mighty Roman Empire tremble at the thundering sound of their war horses!

For a comprehensive look at the Magi, King Makers of the East - who they were and what their significant role in history was, have a read of Dr. Woodhead's treatment on this subject and the visitation of these wise men (who numbered more than just "three") in A CHRISTMAS STORY - THE MAGI.

The gifts that these magi brought are probably why the tradition of exchanging gifts among loved ones has become customary. Yet on that first Christmas night, somewhere on the outskirts of Bethlehem in a dank, dark cave used as a barn, complete with animals and their 'deposits' resided the newlywed couple, Joseph and Mary, along with their babe Who is Christ the LORD - and it was to HIM that the first Christmas gifts were given a couple of years after the Nativity while Mary and her Son Jesus were at home: the famous three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold represented His divinity, frankincense His priesthood and myrrh His sacrificial death - the LORD Jesus Christ: KING and PRIEST and the SACRIFICIAL LAMB of GOD!

No doubt, Joseph and Mary were astounded at these lavish gifts, and we never discovered from the pages of Scripture what became of them; yet there came a time that those who had eyes to see and ears to hear understood what Gift that God had brought to the world, a gift that is still being offered and One that far exceeds in value, anything esteemed as precious in this world.

For more on this, have a look at the FMF article on The PRICE of BLOOD.

Yet year after year this precious gift is left, neglected and not received; it's as though it sits invisible under the Christmas tree while all other gifts are voraciously assaulted, the wrapping violently torn apart and the prize seized!

Gifts are freely given, without the price tag on them, for they are paid for by the loved one giving it, not the loved one receiving it.
I could almost imagine on the stone manger where the Christ-babe was laid in His swaddling clothes, the words etched - "From: GOD with Love; To: The World"

John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Romans 8: 3
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:


The LORD God came down in the form and function of a Man, a sinless Man (2 Cor. 5: 21) named Jesus of Nazareth, Who is the kinsman goel, or a representative of and for the nation of Israel (being a son of Abraham; Matthew 1:1-2, 16) and also in a broader sense, a representative of and for all humanity (being a son of Adam; Luke 3: 23, 38).
He is also a representative of and for GOD Almighty to a darkened world, gone astray from its Creator!
At the conclusion of Passion Week (the time Christians celebrate the LORD's resurrection) Jesus of Nazareth was voraciously assaulted and arrested by the Temple guard, led by Judas Iscariot; the wrapping of His body, that is, His flesh was violently torn apart by club, whip (see flagellation; also cat o' nine tails), and by nails on the cross at the hands of Roman legionnaire, judged then by GOD the FATHER for the sins committed by an ungodly, rebellious world and afterwards the prize seized by death and the grave!

(For a detailed examination of the Roman Crucifixion process and those events surrounding the Passion of Jesus Christ, read A Physicians Analysis of the Crucifixion.)

However, none of these things could deny the KING His victory! Three days after being buried in the Garden Tomb He ascended, having vanquished the powers of sin and death, He has been proclaimed both "LORD and CHRIST" (Acts 2:36)! His victory over sin and death now becomes our own victory - all those who will express faith in His finished work on the Cross! All sins and transgressions washed away, all condemnation against such satisfied by the judgment of our HOLY GOD upon His own SON: Our sin bearer! All fear of death and hell erased in an assurance of salvation through the Almighty Name and faith in such, of JESUS CHRIST!

1 Corinthians 15: 55-57
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, this Christmas, remember that when all the other gifts have been freely received, there is the greatest GIFT of gifts still waiting to be opened and received into your heart, granting to you the forgiveness of all sin, a death blow to your sinful nature that we are all cursed with, and eternal life to be enjoyed in the everlastingly thrilling adventure that is heaven! This Supreme gift offered to you by the One Who created you, and who LOVES YOU ENOUGH TO SEND YOU THE VERY BEST: JESUS, Author of Eternal Life!
Of course the real reason for that upcoming season of celebration in heaven will all encompass the Person of the LORD Jesus Christ, Whom we shall worship as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords - forever, and ever! HALLELUJAH, FOREVER!

You also might like to read from TTUF, this article:
A Christmas Gift of Peace Declined

May you find the ultimate blessing this Christmas by receiving salvation through Jesus Christ our LORD!

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