Read Matthew 2:12-15
The Magi give the infant Jesus gifts fit for a king–and for a dead man. Like giving a life insurance policy to a newborn, these men who studied the prophecy present oils and spices used in embalming. At his birth, their gifts predict his death. How strange.
The gold will surely be helpful when Joseph scoops up his young family and flees in order to save their lives. They will need cash for the journey – food for themselves and the donkey. And they will need living expenses while in Egypt. God knew that and made arrangements ahead of time. But why equip them with frankincense and myrrh?
Joseph probably regifted the unusual gifts, or sold them, because they were very valuable. Even after the funeral gifts are gone, they remind Mary and Joseph that this Child has a special purpose in the world. Somehow, it is connected to life and death.
Mary ponders these things in her heart: Angels, shepherds, star, royalty, gifts fit for a funeral.
Pray Lord, as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, remind us also of his death, because the Christmas cradle is pointless without the Cross.
We’ll post a new devotional here every Monday; read them all in the Nov. 25 issue of the Illinois Baptist, online here.