Christmas has become a tradition of giving and receiving. God’s giving of His only begotten Son and the wise men’s offering of precious gifts to Jesus have become the pattern for this Christmas tradition.
Unfortunately every Christmas season, the focus has become more on gift giving and festive celebration. Consumerism is at its height during Christmas with people buying gifts and food and clothes, and offices are bursting with parties here and there. Streets are all aglow with Christmas lights and lantern which obviously do not come cheap. Of course, Christmas is not complete without the Noche Buena feast. On Christmas day, people, young and old will try to look their best in their newly bought clothes. Entertaining and visiting friends and relatives have become the common agenda for this special day. The poor, with just enough money to buy food strongly feel the pinch of poverty when they can’t celebrate the way people with money can.
Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas was best exemplified by the Magi or the wise men who visited Jesus. They are now commonly known as The Three Kings, In Matthew 2:2 they said: “Where is He who is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” The wise men recognized that the child born in Bethlehem is the King of the Jews – the promised Messiah or Savior. They knew that the Star was the sign of His birth as prophesied in the Old Testament. And so they came to worship and offered Him gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. In this manner, they showed us how we should celebrate Christmas.
First is to recognize that the Child born in Bethlehem is Christ, our Savior. We must see ourselves as lost sinners, destined to destruction unless we be saved from our sins through Him. Christmas then should be a time for thanksgiving because a Savior is born. Those who believe and repent will be saved.
Secondly, the wise men came to worship. They travelled approximately 1,200 km or 32 km per day for forty days in order to worship Jesus. Their worship was not mere lip service, but it involved sacrifice. It was characterized with intense longing to bow down to the King and offer their gifts. In the same manner, we are to be true worshippers of Jesus. We should be fully committed to love, obey and serve our Lord Jesus Christ even if it entails sacrifice on our part.
Christ should not be overshadowed by the way we celebrate Christmas. Even without fancy foods on the table, no new clothes to wear, no gifts received or given, we can still relish the joy of Christmas. The wise men showed us how.