On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
When I first went to Africa I didn’t pack Christmas ornaments because there were so many more important items to take. After several years I was able to buy an artificial three-foot tree from one of the retiring missionaries. Unfortunately, she promised her ornaments to someone else.
I’d learned the hard way that stringing popcorn as garland was useless. The ants and termites destroyed it in a few days. Old-fashioned glass balls weren’t available in any of the markets, so I filled empty medicine boxes and bottles with candy, coins, or pills for a headache. I wrapped these and hung them on the tree.
One of the village elders stood in front of the tree for a very long time and at last sighed. “I finally understand this American tradition. The tree represents the one Jesus died on to save us. The presents symbolize the gifts the wise men gave baby Jesus.”
I thanked God the elder’s words would spread throughout the village. So the tree would no longer be seen as an idol, but rather symbolic of Christ’s birth and death.
What does the Christmas tree and the gifts mean to you, today?
I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.
Have a great week.