“They bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11 NCV)
For more than 50 years my family has kept a tradition of holding a birthday party for Jesus. It started when I was 3 years old and asked my mom, “What is Christmas?” My mom told me it was Jesus’ birthday. With terrific 3-year-old logic, I said, “We should have a birthday party!” And we did, complete with a birthday cake, Kool-Aid, songs, cake, and candles.
We’ve kept that tradition going for four generations now. The birthday party for Jesus has become a sacred time where we read the Christmas story and share what we’re grateful for and what we’re giving Jesus, which is one of the most memorable parts of the celebration.
Often, Jesus gets shut out during Christmas. Imagine I planned a party for you and invited many people. Everyone brings lots of gifts, and the invitees trade presents with one another — and you get nothing.
That’s Christmas. We give gifts to everyone but Jesus. But let’s be honest — what do you give the God who has everything?
Actually, Jesus doesn’t have everything. There are four things he doesn’t have unless you give them to him this Christmas:
Give him your trust. Faith is a voluntary matter. Jesus doesn’t have your trust unless you give it to him. He will never force it.
Make Jesus first place in your life. If anything or anyone other than Jesus holds first place in your life, it’s an idol. This Christmas, choose to make Jesus first in your finances, interests, relationships, schedule — and even in your troubles.
Give Jesus your heart. Your heart is what you love, what you value, and what you care about most. Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34 NIV). One important way you give Jesus your heart this Christmas is by giving your resources to his work. Jesus doesn’t need your money, but he wants what it represents — your heart.
Bring other people to Jesus. God wants a family more than anything else this Christmas. He wants children who choose to love and trust him. It is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Invite someone to Jesus this Christmas. Tell someone about what Jesus has done in your life.
The Bible tells us that the Wise Men didn’t give Jesus their leftovers when they visited him on the first Christmas but instead gave three very significant and valuable gifts: “They bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 NCV).
As you give Jesus your trust, make him first in your life, give what you value to his work, and bring other people to him, you’re giving him gifts far more valuable than the ones the Wise Men brought.
So tell Jesus “happy birthday” this Christmas. Give him your best.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think giving a gift to Jesus is thought of so rarely during the Christmas season?
- What do you think it means to put Jesus first in your troubles?
- Which of the gifts mentioned in the devotional today do you want to commit to giving to Jesus this Christmas?