Friday, December 21, 2007

Anna's first 'date' with Sam... they went to Alvin & the Chipmunks and then to "Old McDonalds"

Wish List

When I was a kid, I thought Christmas was the most magical and amazing thing in my whole world… I mean, once a year I got to make a wish list of the stuff I was really dying to have, and guess what? …I got it! I would wake up on Christmas morning (or in the middle of the night, rather) and head into the living room with my heart pounding wondering, “Did it happen? Did I get what I most wanted?” And then I would see it… a scooter, a gameboy, a bass guitar. Year after year, to my utter amazement it just kept on happening… I said what I wanted most (within reason) and lo and behold, I got it.

So this year I was thinking about Christmas and wondering just how magical it is for Jesus… in other words, is He getting the thing He wants most for Christmas? Does He wait with baited breath and heart pounding every year to see if that thing He wanted most is there, waiting on Him? Well, of course the thing about a question like this is that you have to find out what it is Jesus wants most… what tops His wish list? I don’t know about you, but that makes me think about the wise men… you see, even though they weren’t really there on the first Christmas, they did bring Jesus presents when they came, and I think those gifts were pictures of the thing Jesus wants most.

The magi brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and the traditional view is that these gifts represented different aspects of Jesus… gold for royalty, frankincense for divinity and myrrh for death and burial. Now maybe this is exactly what the wise men had in mind when they brought Jesus these gifts, but what if these gifts were not meant to represent Jesus Himself? It could be that they were meant to represent that one gift that tops Jesus’ wish list. After all, as the wise men told the citizens of Jerusalem after their long journey west, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” -Matthew 2:1

So, how can these three gifts be pictures of worship? Well, I was thinking about gold and how it’s found in veins way down deep in the dark, hard roots of mountains, but when it is mined out and refined, it’s beautiful, bright, soft and ready to be molded. I know that sometimes my worship of the King has to be dragged out of a hard heart that’s been too dark, but when it’s mined out, it’s the best version of me... the one that’s soft and ready to be changed.

Frankincense is actually a resin that comes from the sap of these amazing trees called ‘boswellia’ that can grow right out of the side of a bare rock face, and whose roots cling so tightly that the strongest storms can’t tear them away. The sap that runs slowly down the trunk and dries over a four month time period is called a tear. Harvesters collect these ‘tears’ and use them to make medicine and perfume, but mostly incense. In fact, frankincense is one of the most valuable and beloved fragrances in the world… You know, when my heart is desperately clinging to the Rock of Christ through my strongest and most terrible storms and crying out my tears to Him, He not only hears my prayers, but He smells them as well and there is no more pleasing fragrance to His heart than that.

Myrrh is also a resin collected from tree sap, but it’s different than frankincense… it’s dark, sticky and although its smell is strong, it’s not considered as beautiful as frankincense. Myrrh is actually one of the world’s best natural antiseptics and is used to clean wounds and remove infection. Back in the day it was commonly used in burial to cover up the smell of death… When I think of the thing that holds me back from worship the most, it’s myself… my own selfish thoughts, desires, worries and fears. Maybe myrrh was a picture of our need to die to ourselves… to cleanse our heart of all the selfish stuff that we might mine out that bright and beautiful version of us that is clinging to Him, crying out to Him and ready to be changed by Him. You see, I think that the thing Jesus really wants for Christmas this year is us.

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