The Christmas pageant usually includes the presentation of gifts. Three “kings” from the East troop in with offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Maybe you’ve heard how three little boys in a nativity play got a bit mixed up. The trio paraded up the church aisle with tea towels over their heads and presented their gifts to a fidgeting Mary and Joseph.
“I bring you gold,” piped the first visitor.
“Murmur,” whispered the second boy.
“Frank sent this,” said the third.
The Bible story about the birth of Jesus places the arrival of the royal visitors at least a year after his birth. It just makes for a more colorful story when we bring on the kings while the baby is still asleep on the hay in the manger.
According to the Bible, shepherds were the first to visit Jesus.
They had been watching their flocks when an angel appeared to them in the night and told them to look for a miraculous baby in Bethlehem. Then, as now, farm laborers were not wealthy. But when you visit the parents of a newborn, you are expected to bring a gift. They brought their adoration.
They gave him their love.
The carol, Little Drummer Boy, might drive you mad with all its “pa rum pum pum pums” but it underlines one of the principle themes of Advent. Christmas isn’t about giving expensive gifts. It is about giving all you have… your love.
Christmas is a birthday party for Jesus.
Far too often, we just give gifts to everyone except the person whose birthday we are celebrating.
This year, as you bask in the glow of giving and receiving Christmas gifts, think about what you could have given, if you had given all you are.