Beyond the manger: the meaning of Christmas

After being a Christian for more than 20 years, I am still moved with the wonder of Christmas. The true story of the birth of Christ towers above the greatest adventure tale ever written. From the prophecies foretelling His arrival, to the integrity and valor of Mary’s husband, Joseph, the tough journey of the Magi, the heavenly invasion announcing His birth to the shepherds, and the faith of a young girl embracing her miraculous assignment that was conceived of the Holy Spirit.

To keep the Christ in Christmas; look beyond the manger. Just as there were prophecies leading up to His birth, there were three significant ones told by three gifts given shortly after He was born. Gifts that should cause us pause and look far beyond the manger: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Myrrh was used for embalming; it was the gift that foretold of His death. Our Savior had to die so we could live. This gift causes us to see beyond the manger and see the Savoir of the world.

John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Frankincense was an incense used by a priest. It was the gift that pointed to Jesus our Great High Priest, a High Priest who can relate to us in every area of our life. One who knows our every struggle and sin yet still loves us and has made a way for us.

Hebrews 4:14-16 — “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Gold — a gift for a King! A King who defeated death, hell, and the grave. A King who wants to share all the riches, power and authority of His Kingdom. A King who calls you kings and joint heirs, not subjects. A King who is more excited about you then you could ever be about Him. A King who wants to set up His throne in your heart!

Revelation 19:16 — “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Don Sturiano, pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church, can be reached at 776-0026. Kingdom Life Christian Church meets 10:30 a.m. Sundays at The Renaissance on 9th/Senior Enrichment Center, 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. For more information, visit Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.