Advent a time of receiving

This last week before Christmas is often a frenzy of shopping, baking and cooking in preparation for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gatherings.  We love to give the gifts we’ve shopped for and wrapped but what about receiving?  What will you do with the gifts you receive? Most of the time we look at our gifts and think about when we will wear the new items of clothing or use the new appliance, perfume, jewelry or when we will have time to read that new book.   Jesus received gifts of praise from the shepherds and angels the night of his birth.  Later, some say as much as 2 years, Jesus and his family were visited by Wiseman from the East.  The story is recorded in Matthew 2 and tells of their following the star, coming before Herod and arriving in Bethlehem to worship Jesus.  “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, and of incense and of myrrh.” Matthew 2:11  Those were expensive gifts worthy of a king.  Why would Jesus need such gifts?

“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”  “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were 2 years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.” Matthew 2: 12, 16   In the meantime, an angel appeared to Joseph  and said, “Get up” and “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2:13

God provided funds for this coming escape to Egypt.  The gold, incense and myrrh were very costly and could be used in trade for their travel to Egypt via camel perhaps, their places to stay or food to eat.  They stayed in Egypt until Herod died which would have been several years.  Later, Joseph was also told by an angel when it was safe to return and they journeyed back to Israel and settled in Nazareth.   All this traveling and staying would have been expensive.  God miraculously provided for Jesus and his family.

Do you have stories like this in your family of God’s miraculous provision?  This time of year we need to be ready to give but also to receive.  Do you have the attitude that the gifts you receive were especially meant for you?  How grateful are you for the things you receive?   Jesus’ family did not know where or when they would need the expensive gifts they received but God did.  He knows exactly what you need and when you need it.  Thank Him ahead of time for the gifts he has planned for you to receive this year.

Learning to receive with a grateful heart,


wrapped present



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