December 26, 2018

The Gift of Salvation

Matthew 2:1-12

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

—  Matthew 2:11

Many Christmas cards feature a decorated Christmas tree with colorful presents beneath its branches. Of course we love Christmas gift-giving, but attractive packages can make us forget how the custom of Christmas gifts started and what it signifies.

Most likely, Christmas-gift giving stems from the story about wise men from the east who came to visit Jesus after his birth in Bethlehem. Following a star and a prophecy, they ­arrived at last. The star stood over the place where Jesus and his parents were staying, and the visitors dismounted their dusty camels and entered the house.

Matthew says that when they saw the child Jesus, “they bowed down and worshiped him.” He uses this expression several times throughout his gospel to describe people’s reactions to Jesus. The wise men also came bearing lavish gifts.

Mystery surrounds this story, but it teaches us several important things. Like the wise men, we too should bow and worship Jesus as King. We should also offer gifts to him, the best of all that we have, and, most important, our hearts and our service. That’s the least we can do for the One who brings us the choicest gift of all: salvation and new life.

Lord, lead us, like the wise men long ago, to kneel before you in adoration and humble service. Thank you for coming to save us! We pray in your name. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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