And they presented gifts to Him, gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
(Lk 2. 11)
The tradition of giving gifts dates back beyond this Bethlehem scene. Gift giving likely began during the winter festival Saturnalia where certain citizens were compelled to bring gifts to offer to their leaders. This tradition eventually morphed into common citizens exchanging gifts amongst themselves.
The Christian church in time, likely around the 4th century, adopted the celebration of the winter festival and heavily influenced its practices to bring the traditions around to Christian meanings. One of these influences meant the exchanging of gifts now being rerooted into the tradition of the Magi bringing gifts to the Christ child. The exchange of gifts today is done in remembrance of the gifts that the Magi brought.
It was customary at the time, and remains so to this day, that when visiting royalty, one brings gifts to give him or her. For example when our leaders visit the Queen they always bring gifts as an act of honour and respect. So too in days past; and this was the custom that the Magi were following when they gathered their expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. When they came in to the presence of the Christ child and presented gifts, they were acknowledging Him to be royalty and treated Him as such.
Our exchange of gifts today reflect back to this tradition and allows us the opportunity to act in remembrance of the royalty born so long ago and also to honour those around us with whom we live and work. Gifts serve as a reminder of the greatest gift that was ever given; that of an only son to a world in need of a redeemer.
As we go about gathering gifts to present to our friends, family and acquaintances, you are invited to do so in the spirit of respect and honour, remembering that what we do to our fellow man, we do the one to created it all.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift.
Every good and perfect Gift comes
from the One who Sustains us
Who is Complete and Steadfast.
2 Cor 9.15; James 1.17
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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/55595914@N05/6620071689″>balls and gift box</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/“>(license)</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32029534@N00/6328176386″>i already have more presents than you!!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/“>(license)</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/126848004@N06/15933104489″>Before it all started…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/“>(license)</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12983708@N08/15908793298″>Giant Christmas</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>