And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. They presented gifts to the baby. Kingly gifts. But is this enough? Does it satisfy God when we come armed with the best gifts we can imagine giving Him?
God gives into empty hands, says St. Augustine. He doesn’t give into hands full of what you would boast about to God. If we cling to earthly things there’s no place for His gifts to be given into.
It’s wonderful that the Magi worshipped Jesus. It’s remarkable that they traveled so far to present gifts to Him. Yet blessed are you who don’t give, but are given to by God. Blessed are you who receive gifts, even suffering and death, as a gift from His hands. Nothing slips out of His nail-pierced hands. This is the Good News of the kingdom of the Gospel. By His birth, suffering, and death you are blessed. In suffering and death you are glad.
To be blessed is always spoken of in relation to Jesus. It rings with gladness. This isn’t a shallow feeling. It’s something from our Lord. It’s a lively, joyful gift. It’s His blessing for all your dying and living. Not spoonfuls, not bucketfuls, but a flood of water churning with life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God, and of the Lamb (Revelation 22:1).
Blessed are you then who don’t give, but are given to through Baptism in His Name. You were dead in sin. God made you alive together with Him. He forgives all your sins. He blots out all the charges the Law hurls at you. He sets them aside by nailing them to a cross. As St. Paul writes, “… you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory (Colossians 3:3-4). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Your heart will leap with gladness When from the realms of sadness They come from near and far. Your eyes will wake from slumber As people without number Rejoice to see the Morning Star. (Arise and Shine in Splendor, LSB 396:5)