Reflections

Wise Men Bringing Gifts

One of the commonest scenes we see on Christmas cards and other pictures of Christmas is that of three men, either on camels or otherwise, bringing or presenting gifts to the Christ Child. And the Scriptures tell us those gifts weregold, frankincense and myrrh.

I have often wondered: “Who were these men? Why did they bring  gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ Child? Were these gifts a silent testimony of the truth of the Babe they sought to worship? Did they have an understanding of who He was and forever will be? According to the nature of the gifts they brought, were they making a silent statement of what was to be the life of the Babe they worshipped?

As I reflect on this part of the Christmas story, I reason with myself that since these men were heavenly-led to follow a star which directed them to the Christ Child, then it would be safe to say that through the wisdom of God, they were given glimpses of truth from God the Father about the divinity of that Child, and what the future held for Him. I reason, too, that their very act of worship was a confession in itself that there was something divine about that Child and that He was worthy of their attention and their significant gifts.

Gold. We all know that gold is a precious metal of great value in the world, even among many uncivilized nations. It has always been and still is a gift fit for a king. When the wise men gave gold out of their treasure to the Christ child, were they recognizing Him as King of kings?

Frankincense. This is a substance that rises upward as a sweet aroma when burnt. In presenting the gift of frankincense to the Christ child, were these wise men recognizing the life of Christ as a sacrificial, sweet aroma rising up to the Father on behalf of mankind?

Myrrh. This is a substance that was used by the ancients in the embalming process to prevent decay. In presenting the gift of myrrh to the Christ child, were these wise men recognizing the indestructible body of Christ and the eternality of His life?

Wise men and women still seek Christ today by reaching out for “new life” in Him and still bring Him gifts in love and adoration. What gifts do wise men and women bring to Christ?

In place of gold, we could bring Him a heart filled with a strong faith in His divine Kingship. In the place of myrrh we could bring Him a heart filled with hope...a blessed hope to share in His eternality. In the place of frankincense we could bring Him a heart filled with charity for others who are needy, and have this gift rise up as a sweet fragrance to Him, for He said that even “ a cup of water given in His name is done unto Him” and will not be unrewarded.

Wise men and women still bring gifts to Christ—not only at Christmas time, but at all times—not of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but of faith, hope and charity.

This holiday season, let us all bring Christ back into Christmas, and in all our gift-giving, let us remember Him with the incomparable gifts of faith, hope and charity.

“...There came wise men from the east...they presented unto him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1, 11).

 

Seasons Of Change

Just a few weeks ago, I drove in an area where a few trees were already beginning to change their leaves to golden yellow, brown and red, heralding the Fall season. And I thought to myself, how beautiful are the trees in the Fall season, but then again, I thought, how beautiful are the trees in every season of the year.

In the Spring, young leaves appear on the mostly bare branches, and are beautiful. And in the Summer, the trees are in full bloom and beauty. In the Fall, the leaves yet need no reminder to change their colour and eventually fall away, still maintaining a beauty of their own. And in Winter, they are still beautiful in another way.

At every change, the trees need no reminder to do what they are supposed to do. Truly, the soil and weather play an important part in the way the trees look, but nature works as a timer and does its job in every way. As I pondered the transition of the seasons from one to another, and the effect they have on the trees, it reminded me of our natural and spiritual seasons of change.

We go from being babies into our childhood years, then to young adulthood and then into our mature years. And we need no reminders to make the change; it is automatic. And just as there is beauty in the trees at every change of season, so there is beauty in every change of season in our lives, naturally and spiritually.

And there is meaning and purpose in every change of season in our lives, as well.

God is the Author of times and seasons and the purpose of them all. And when I contemplate His omniscience and omnipotence as Creator of all that is in the heavens, the earth and the seas out of nothing, it make me humble in the presence of His intelligence and greatness.

Today, give some thought to the greatness of the God we serve and ask Him to help you accept the changing seasons in your life; also to see the beauty, purpose and meaning in every change.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

 

Where Can I Hide From God?

I am still reflecting on Psalm 139 and understanding more about my connection with my Creator and His knowledge of me. Throughout my life, God knows all about me. He knows who I am at the depth of my being, even my most secret thoughts. He knows my ways, all that I say and do, and intend to say and do. I can hide my thoughts and feelings from persons around me, but I cannot hide them from God. My life to Him is like an open book.

His knowledge of me is beyond my comprehension; it is too high for me to attain. He knows my darkest moments; He knows my shining moments too. Darkness and light make no difference to Him. His intelligence penetrates everything.

He knew me before I knew myself. Even in my mother’s womb, He knew me, and created me fearfully and wonderfully. He fashioned me in secret, even before the parts of my body were anything at all, and made those parts to function, and I do not know how.

Like the universe, galaxies and all things, seen and unseen, He created me out of nothing.

Where can I hide from God? Can I out-run Him and get away? He is every where I go. If I could ascend up into heaven I would find him there, and if I could descend into hell I would also find Him there. His eyes are upon me and His hand is upon me, always leading me gently in a closer walk with Him. His thoughts are upon me. And they are to me more precious than diamonds, and they are so many, even more than the sand on this earth

Like the psalmist David, I praise God for His all-seeing, all-knowing and ever-present nature. There is none like Him.

Lord, help me to despise wickedness just as you despise it and help me not to call your name in vain. Search my heart and cleanse it, and lead me in your ways that are everlasting.

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7).

Take Time To Smell The Roses

Ever so often I find myself racing with time and have to pause, and remind myself of the need to take time to balance my activities. This has been one of the most challenging principles I have had to learn in my spiritual journey.

Today, take some time to pause and reflect on our foundation text, as well as the following words of an anonymous writer who took the time to give us “Take time...”

“Take Time...”

Take time to work...It is the price of success.

Take time to think...It is the source of power.

Take time to play...It is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to read...It is the fountain of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly...It is the road to happiness.

Take time to laugh...It is the music of the heart.

Take time to love and be loved...It is a God-given privilege.

Take time to share...It is too short a life to be selfish.

Take time to dream...It is hitching your wagon to a star.

Take time to pray...It is the greatest power on earth.

--Author unknown

I will like to add my two cents’ worth to the above, saying:

Take time to pause and reflect often on God’s Word...It is life and light to your soul.

Take time to rest...It is a God-given example.

Take time to smell the roses...It is a treasure to savour His presence in your life.

Dear Father, help me to take the time to taste and see that you are good, and help me to savour the good experiences in life, however simple they may seem. Amen.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born...” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

We Are Wonderfully Made

This morning, my meditation was Psalm 139, and though the entire psalm is rich in meaning, yet verse 14 caught my attention in a special way. It is not the first time I am in knowledge of this truth, but today it has taken on a new significance and was riveted in my awareness for the day. It reminds me of the beautiful hymn “How Great thou Art.”

This meditation led me to remember the words of our Creator: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...” and the verse after that shows that He actually followed through His proposition.

This tells me that I was not created by chance, but by the definite desire and will of God. I have not descended from monkeys or apes, but have been deliberately created. I am of the highest creation of God on this planet and was created by Him to have dominion over all the earth.

I was created to surmount obstacles, to be triumphant, and to have fellowship with God. I was created by God for His glory. I was created with the ability to reason, plot, plan and to communicate with God and other humans intelligently. I am God’s masterpiece. I am a threefold being: spirit, soul (mind, will, and emotions) and body. In short, like David, I can say: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Think about it: When God created you and me, He placed in us a measure of every attribute that He is, for example, peace, love, truth, will, meekness, the power of choice and a conscience to know right from wrong. He placed within us the capacity to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, to worship Him, to communicate with Him, in this world and forever in the next.

We have an Indwelling Presence that is ever fresh, ever uplifting and transforming, and It wants to do great things within us. It is always on the rise, giving us inspirations and aspirations to bring about change in the world.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14, KJV).