Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Gifts of the Magi

Some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2 NLT).

The curtain had closed on another Christmas season. Shadows from my Christmas lights danced across the wall in a valiant attempt to cheer me as I faced another round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Where are you God?

As I sought God in this unfamiliar journey through chemotherapy, he reminded me of the Magi. I wondered if the cry of my heart echoed the cries of these wise men. They left their familiar homeland and followed a star to worship the newborn king. Filled with hope, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As I reflected on the Magi, I wondered what gifts I could offer my King.

  1. Gold — I offer that which is more precious than gold, my faith. A faith that continues to believe in the goodness of God. A faith that acknowledges Jesus as the King of Kings who reigns over the whole world including my circumstances. Even cancer. This season I honor the King by walking in faith and trusting him with my future, relying on Jesus to bring me through the cancer and chemotherapy. God is faithful. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold (1 Peter 1:7 NLT).
  2. Frankincense — Frankincense was an expensive and fragrant incense offered in the worship of a deity. My fragrant offering pleasing to God is praise and worship. Even in the midst of pain, confusion and chemotherapy, he is worthy. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased” (Revelation 4:11 NLT).
  3. Myrrh The bitter perfume of suffering foreshadowed the death of Jesus on the cross.   By his death and resurrection, he rescued us from our sinful way of life and gave us access to the living God. For me, myrrh represents my altar of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. I surrender my circumstances, hopes and dreams to the one who loves me, created me and died for me. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (Hebrews 12:2 NLT).

God had given me a blueprint to walk through this difficult season. I will follow in the footsteps of the Magi and offer my gifts of faith, worship and surrender to Jesus. I, too, will look past my sufferings and focus on the majesty of my savior. He is the source of my joy. A joy not dependent upon my circumstances, but a joy that comes from his presence. And like the Magi, I will rejoice with great joy.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy… they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:10-11 NKJV).

God heard my cry. Through the gifts of the Magi, he revealed himself as Emmanuel, God with us. And he is still with me.

Copyright © Joanie Shawhan, used with permission.

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