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Bringing Gifts

December 7, 2011

Matthew 2:1-12

The Visit of the Magi (NIV)

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Can you imagine traveling for days, weeks, even months to give a gift?  This holiday season I’m using others to deliver my Christmas gifts to our assortment of family around the world.  Amazon.de will take care of the German family, delivering everything on time and with free shipping.  A few orders from Amazon.com and a Chicago shopping trip with my sister will complete the list.  Everyone will have their gift even if I cannot travel to see them this year.

The Wisemen/Kings/Magi didn’t have the luxury of Amazon or UPS.  And, maybe their system was more meaningful.  They hand delivered their gifts.  They saw the wonder in Mary’s eyes, experienced the divine surrounding Jesus, and while Joseph isn’t mentioned here we can imagine that he too was impressed with the gifts the Kings brought to his young son.

In a few months people from all the other the world will arrive in Tampa, Florida, for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference.  Each will come bearing a gift to give to their Church and to God.  Some will bring an experience of poverty or of wealth.  Others a practice of the spiritual disciplines, hopes and dreams from their home conference, the ability to speak eloquent words, passion or energy.  Some will bring legislation they have penned or a deep will to change the Church.  And, all will bring a commitment to their Church.  These delegates also offer us a gift.  They will give two weeks of their time to work on our behalf.

In this season of gift giving I encourage you to consider what gift you can bring to your local church, district, conference or global church.  The Magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.  What treasure will you bring?

-Carrie Kreps Wegenast

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