HomeWord - December 20, 2013

 The First Christmas Gifts

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Note: Today's devotional is part of HomeWord's Family Christmas Devotional series, 16 family devotionals to help your family make the most of your Christmas season focus. To download the entire series, click here.

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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. —Matthew 2:9-11

The magi went to great lengths to find Jesus, the newborn king, traveling a great distance to find him. Following the star, they eventually found Jesus. When they did, they worshipped Him, and gave him the first Christmas gifts: gold, incense, and myrrh.

We three kings of orient are;

Bearing gifts we traverse afar,

Field and fountain,

Moor and mountain,

Following yonder star.

            (from We Three Kings of Orient Are)

Two things stand out in this encounter:

First, the magi were pagan astrologers, but they were moved to find the king of the Jews. And when they did, these astrologers bowed down and worshiped Jesus. It’s amazing that even at Jesus’ birth, we have an important picture painted for us that He would be the redeemer sent to everyone, not just a select few, and that our response to Jesus is that of worship.

Secondly, we see the magi presenting Jesus with precious gifts.  Giving and receiving gifts are a favorite part of our Christmas celebrations today. Yet typically, we celebrate Christmas more for God’s gift of Jesus to us than as a time when we give gifts to Jesus. Maybe it’s time to change our priorities. We can give gifts to Jesus through our worship and through our commitment to follow Him.

As we celebrate Christmas this year, choose to give Jesus your life as a gift to Him.


1. Why do you feel the magi wanted to find Jesus?

2. Does the magi’s response to finding Jesus (worshipping and giving gifts) seem odd to you? Why or why not?

3. What is something specific you can do to give Jesus a Christmas gift this year?


Before Christmas, find an empty box and put a mirror in it. With a dry-erase marker write the words, “To: Jesus” on the mirror. Then close the box and wrap it with Christmas gift-wrapping. Put a tag on it that reads “To: Jesus.” When your family is opening Christmas gifts, use the content above to have a discussion about the Magi, who brought gifts to Jesus. Then, have a family member open the box and look inside. Pass the box with the mirror in it (or just pass around the mirror) to everyone in the family as a reminder that we can give ourselves to Jesus as His Christmas gift.

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