When I was a child, my catechism teacher suggested that we “pray” a gift for Jesus. She had made a diagram of x’s to look like a manger. Each x represented a prayer that made up the manger bed for the Christ child. I was very inspired by this and was determined to do this for Jesus. I started out strong but there were days when I forgot to pray. Then, as Christmas drew near, I remembered my promise. Not realizing that I could mark each x after any conversation with God, I prayed the correct number of Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s in order to finish the manger. Satisfied, I ran off to my own pursuits, forgetting the significance of what I had attempted to do.
What happened? I had been sincerely moved by my teacher’s request. I imagined the precious baby, Jesus, and wanted so much to “pray” that manger bed for him. But as the days wore on and “life” took over, I forgot my original promise. Yes, I finally fulfilled it, but not with the same passion I started out with. As an adult, I can still be like this. Some days my devotion to Jesus is sincere and my time with him is rich and rewarding. Other times, I am fulfilling an “obligation” to spend time with him. I guess that is better than not spending any time with him but what an insult to a Savior who is supposed to be Lord of my life!!
Let’s now examine the Magi, from the East, who traveled for about a year to find the Christ child. They had heard about him, knew the prophesy concerning him, and made finding him top priority in their lives. Think of the journey these kings made to honor a child who was destined to do great things.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 7:14
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 Gold was given because Christ was a king. Frankincense, an expensive, aromatic oil was presented because it symbolized Deity. Finally the gift of myrrh was laid at Jesus’ feet as a symbol of his eventual death on a cross, the perfect sacrifice for all men’s sins.
As we celebrate this Christmas, in the midst of the cookies, glitter and gifts, may we take time to celebrate the Christ child in prayer. Spend some time, alone, in a quiet place and talk to him. Read his Word and let God reveal himself to you. He loves you. He died for you. Let’s give him the honor that he is due.