Once again the Christmas season is nearly upon us – a time for spending on presents, food and drink. But what for?
In the Christmas story, we have the shepherds who came to see Jesus. They were the ‘outcasts’ of Jewish society. When they found the baby Jesus, they just simply worshipped Him. They did not bring any gifts – I said, they did not bring any gifts, just themselves.
Then there were those ‘important’ people from the east, from a long, long way away. They did bring gifts. But they were very special gifts, full of ‘symbolic’ meaning’. Myrhh, Frankincense and Gold.
Myrhh is an oil used in the preparation of a burial – thus symbolising Jesus’ death.
Frankincense is a resin used as a perfume – a symbol of life that Jesus brings.
Gold is a symbol of the kingship of Jesus.
So today a gift, in my mind, should be something spontaneous and special for a one off occasion, so that there is meaning and a uniqueness about it. Examples of occasions for gifts are the passing of a driving test, an appreciation of someone for no particular reason, a demonstration of one’s love for someone, something to help a stranger.
Hence the importance of something creative and small, something that a lot of thought has gone into its selection.
That will mean a huge cultural change, but it would help in making Christmas a focus on Jesus and not on ourselves. Who is going to make the first move?