The Christmas story is full of unexpected encouragement, and though it’s become almost too familiar, its many truths take on new meaning in seasons of testing like the one in which we’re living. I believe this is especially true as we examine the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus — each one of them has the potential to help us as we sort through the 2020 experience. To offer some background, unlike traditional depictions of the nativity, there were probably a lot more than three “wise men.” In fact, the party that traveled from the east was more like a caravan, and when they rolled into Bethlehem, everyone knew they had arrived. They brought servants, animals, and a host of gifts to lay before the newborn King, and the extravagance of their parade stood in sharp contrast to the humble surroundings in which they found the Savior. Because there was nothing inconspicuous about their presence, we can imagine that the things they brought to Him were bestowed in great quantity. The first gift they presented was gold, and since the beginning of time, this shiny yellow metal has been a sign of royalty. Even today, it remains a mark of wealth and status, and it denotes worldly power and influence (think of the Queen of England’s crown). How strange, then, that such a valuable commodity was lavished upon a baby in a way that He couldn’t possibly have understood. Yet what a testament to the reign and triumph of the One who would grow up to be the King of Kings. Though He would never live in a palace built by the hands of men, nor would He ascend a physical throne, His Kingdom is the most world-changing force in the history of humankind. From start to finish, He stands over earthly governments, and He rules with eternal justice and mercy. He is sovereign over every season and circumstance, and that’s good news for us, especially when times are taxing and we’re unsure of what the future holds.
My friend, the baby who was born over 2,000 years ago on a bustling night in Bethlehem is the Beginning and the End of time. Although it’s tempting to fret when the state of the world is uncertain, when institutions fail, and when human leaders let you down, you can rejoice because He knows exactly what’s going on. He is the eternal King, and He will not abandon you or turn a blind eye to your plight. Instead, Jesus invites you to reign with Him by putting your trust in His greater plan and purpose. As you submit your life and will to His Lordship, He will lift your spirit, renew your hope, and use you to spark a joy in others that is brighter and more valuable than any measure of earthly gold!