Colors of Christmas – Gold

Our final Color of Christmas is gold and its symbolism of value. We may not be paid in gold or use gold at the local store, but the idea of value remains regardless of the currency. We exchange something we have such as time, ability, and expertise for something of value which can then be exchanged for something desired. However, this activity of commerce and exchange is not the meaning of Christmas gold. For that, we must return to the story.

Matthew records the journey of the magi and their search for a newborn king. Put aside for this article when they encountered Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in relation to the other events associated with Christmas. Matthew’s point is that in Israel, the Jewish homeland, foreigners with a strange language and religion recognized Jesus as king. Everyone else saw a poor family with a dubious history, they saw something much more.

We are told that when the magi found Jesus “they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11, NASB95) So often we focus on the gifts of the magi and lose a marvelous truth. Yes, the magi gave gifts but more than that, they worshipped. The gifts of gold and spices were physical expressions of something even more valuable.  

Rewind the story just a bit to when the magi encountered another king. I’m certain that the magi showed King Herod due difference appropriate for a court appearance. Matthew, however, does not record that the magi worshipped Herod. They instead announced their intentions to worship this new king, something that wily Herod used to his advantage but I’m sure he didn’t like it.

Their worship was reserved for Jesus. It was expressed physically as they prostrated themselves. It was expressed verbally although Matthew doesn’t record those words but instead simply says “they worshipped.” It was expressed in the gifts, giving the best of what they had without expectation of return.

So often we approach attending church, tithing, praying, and worshiping out of a hidden sense of commerce. “I’m going to give you something of value God so that You will be gracious to me God, answer my prayers and make my life better.” We don’t say those words of course, but somewhere in our hearts lurks a balance sheet recording our investment and whether the return meets expectations. That is not the example of the magi, nor of the worshippers and followers in the Bible, or of many in the centuries since Bethlehem’s stable.

This Christmas, and the whole year through, let’s worship Jesus for who He is and the love He has shown us. Throw away the balance sheet seeking to determine if following Jesus is worth it and go all in. Sold out to whatever Jesus desires for us. Let’s kneel before Him, recognizing His kingship over us and offer to Him the best of ourselves as a gift of worship. That is Christmas Gold.

Dale Heinold
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