Bible Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD the Christmas story many times, right? But how well do you really know it? Take the following quiz, and see if you’re truly a “wise guy” (or girl) when it comes to the story of Jesus’ birth. (Choose the best answer for each question.)
1. The wise men who journeyed from afar to visit Jesus were
a. astrologers. b. kings. c. circus performers.
2. How many wise men were there?
a. Three. b. I don’t know. c. I know, but I’m not telling.
3. The wise men found Jesus in Bethlehem and visited him in
a. a stable. b. a manger. c. a house.
4. The wise men’s gifts included
a. gold. b. Frankenstein. c. fur.
You see, a lot of misunderstanding has arisen about the visit of the wise men to Jesus on that first Christmas long ago. Most of people think the wise men were kings (probably because of the Christmas carol, “We Three Kings”); but they were most likely court astrologers for some city or nation. Most people think there were three wise men, but the Bible doesn’t say how many wise men came to visit Jesus. And although your family’s manger scene probably shows the wise men visiting Jesus at the stable where the Lord was born, they apparently didn’t arrive until Jesus, Joseph, and Mary had moved into a house somewhere (see Matthew 2:11). And, of course, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense (not Frankenstein), and myrrh (not fur). So if your answers were (a), (b), (c), and (a), you really are a “wise guy” (or girl).
But the story of the wise men visiting Jesus is more than just fun and games. It can remind us that Christmas is more about giving than about getting. The wise men brought generous gifts to the Christ child that first Christmas, but they brought even more than expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They brought themselves—and their worship.
This Christmas Eve you’re probably thinking a lot about what you’re getting for Christmas. But a more important question is: What are you giving?
REFLECT: Christmas is exciting, isn’t it? it’s hard not to think about the gifts you will unwrap this year. But take a few minutes to think about what you’re giving for Christmas. Can you think of ways you can be generous tomorrow (with gifts, time, favors, manners, worship, and so on) to your family and to Jesus?
PRAY: “Lord, I know you value generosity. I want to learn about giving this Christmas instead of thinking only about getting. Please help me to show generosity to others—and to you—this Christmas.”