The Gifts of the Magi
GOD COMMANDS GENEROSITY BECAUSE GOD VALUES GENEROSITY.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12.
Verse of the Day: “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited his people and redeemed them” (Luke 1:68).
The kids all gathered around Grandpa, who sat in his big chair with the high back. The family had just finished a big Christmas Eve meal, and it was time for the first reading of the Christmas story. For many years, a tradition in the family had been to read the story of Jesus’ birth from Matthew’s Gospel on Christmas Eve, and to read from Luke’s Gospel on Christmas morning.
“Ohhhh,” Grant moaned. He lay on his belly at Grandpa’s feet. “I ate too much!”
“Me too,” his cousin Scott groaned. He rubbed his stomach with his hand.
Grandpa chuckled as he opened his big, black Bible. The moaning and groaning subsided as Grandpa began reading from the Gospel of Matthew. He read about Mary becoming pregnant through the work of the Holy Spirit. He read about the angel’s appearance to Joseph, Mary’s fiance, at that point. And he read about the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem. Finally, he closed the Bible.
“Now,” Grandpa said, addressing the children in the room, “what was different about the gifts the wise men unwrapped that Christmas morning?”
“They were gold, and frankincense, and myrrh!” Scott said. “We’ll get toys!”
“Yeah,” Grant agreed. He glanced at the Christmas tree in the corner of the room. “And their gifts probably weren’t wrapped with Garfield wrapping paper!”
Grandpa and the other adults in the room laughed. “What else?” he asked, looking at the children. Several of the other children said something, and then Grandpa leaned forward in his chair. “Let me ask you this: did the wise men give gifts to each other?”
Grant and Scott looked at Grandpa. They shook their heads.
“You’re right,” Grandpa said. “Think about that. The first Christmas gifts were given to Jesus … but all our Christmas gifts are addressed to us, not to Jesus!”
“I never thought about that before,” Scott said.
“You see, kids,” Grandpa continued, “it’s so easy to get caught up in getting things at Christmas time; but Christmas isn’t about getting, it’s about giving, because God values generosity, not greed.” Then Grandpa asked everyone in the room to join hands, and he prayed.
When Grandpa finished praying, Grant turned to his cousin, with excitement written on his face. “I know what we could give to Jesus tomorrow!” He whispered in Scott’s ear.
“Yeah!” Scott answered. “That’ll be fun!”
TO DISCUSS: What does Christmas mean to you? Is it about getting or about giving? Can you think of a gift you could give to Jesus tomorrow?
TO PRAY: “Lord, this time of year, we’re reminded of how Jesus came to earth as a man. May our actions reflect your generosity.”