Luke 2:8 – 15: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby and they were keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ (or the Messiah, interchangeable word) the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Matthew 2:1 & 2: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jew? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. V. 11: On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh.
If you ever felt that your life was insignificant, and/or so oppressed and hopeless, the story of Christ coming into this world reminds us of God’s love. The shepherds and persons working in the mines at the time of this account were usually slaves. The two jobs that were the most dangerous and usually ended in death were the shepherds and the miners. Of all the people on the earth, God chose to make the big announcement to them.
If you ever perceived that life was a dead end experience, the story of Christ’s coming reminds us of the journey of life when God places a revelation in ones’ hearts. The “wise men”, the Magi, were Gentiles, not Jews, known for research of medicine, education, astronomy, astrology, and the law. They could be compared to a traveling university. They related, “We saw his star and have come to worship him.”
Without getting all metaphorical and explaining how the gifts reflected the life and death of Christ. Let us appreciate the practical side of the gifts. The young couple would need the gold for the exit to Egypt to escape King Herod. The incense was respectful of this young Jewish couples worship habits. The myrrh was perfume, something nice for the young mother. So this Christmas, regardless whether feeling insignificance or life has become a dead end, Jesus Christ can be awesomely real and present to you. The greatest gift of all is to sense the presence of God so real and awesome that you realize being the shortest and weakest one present. Why do you think angels always begin their dialogue with, “Fear not?”
May you have a Christ filled Christmas!
Thomas “Tommy” Estis, PhD, NCC, LPC, LPC-S, LMFT, LMFT-BAS, LAC