The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Joy | Week 4 | Day 22
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything (Acts 17:25). The gifts of the magi are not given by way of assistance or need meeting. It would dishonor a monarch if foreign visitors came with royal care packages.
Nor are these gifts meant to be bribes. Deuteronomy 10:17 says that God takes no bribe. Well, what then do they mean? How are they worship?
Gifts given to wealthy, self-sufficient people are echoes and intensifiers of the giver’s desire to show how wonderful the person is. In a sense, giving gifts to Christ is like fasting—going without something to show that Christ is more valuable than what you are going without.
When you give a gift to Christ like this, it’s a way of saying, “The joy that I pursue [notice Matthew 2:10! “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy”] is not the hope of getting rich by bartering with you or negotiating some payment. I have come to you not for your things but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up things in the hope of enjoying you more. By giving to you what you do not need and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, ‘You are my treasure, not these things.’”
I think that’s what it means to worship God with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Or whatever else we may think of giving to God.
May God awaken in us a desire for Christ himself. May we say from the heart, “Lord Jesus, you are the Messiah, the King of Israel. All nations will come and bow down before you. God wields the world to see that you are worshiped. Therefore, whatever opposition I may find, I joyfully ascribe authority and dignity to you and bring my gifts to say that you alone can satisfy my heart.”
– Taken from Good News of Great Joy: 25 Devotional Readings for Adventby John Piper, Copyright © 2021 by Desiring God Foundation. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, crossway.org.
Father God, I thank you for the wonderful gifts you’ve blessed me with, but most of all for the gift of your precious son, Jesus. Father, reveal to me the “gold, frankincense and myrrh” in my life. May I find joy in offering these gifts back to you or in using them for your glory. I know that true joy is found in you and you alone.
Invite a friend or family member to one of Hope Co.’s Christmas Eve services. Get days and times here: https://thehopeco.com/christmas/
Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know at church this morning.
Post a positive comment on someone’s social media page calling out what you appreciate about them.
Get a roll of store-bought sugar cookies dough. Using a star cookie cutter, make star shapes. Decorate them with sprinkles and use these questions to prompt a discussion about Jesus’ birth:
What do you think it was like to see such a bright star in the sky the night Jesus was born?
Have you ever seen a really bright star?
Have you ever wondered why God put a bright star in the sky?
Why do you think the wise men followed the star?