ALFORD: Like it or not, you do have enemies in this world; Jesus said so  

I laughed at a story I heard the other day about a mother who took her son to the mall to meet Santa Claus.

“So, what do you want to Christmas?” Santa asked the little fellow.

“I want a Red Ryder BB gun with a box of 1,000 BBs,” he told Santa. “Now, you write that down so you don’t forget.”

A few days later, the boy’s grandmother took him shopping with her. The little boy met Santa again, and again Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas.

The little fellow gave Santa a disapproving look, and said, “I told you to write it down.”

You’ve no doubt noticed just how much effort people put into choosing just the right gifts at Christmas time. That was the case when the wise men came from the East to see Jesus when he was a child. You recall they brought Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. But did you know that’s not all they gave Jesus. Let’s look at the scriptures that talk about their visit.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

“When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, and thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

“Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

“When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

“And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way” (Matthew 2:1-12).

Obviously, the wise men presented Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But, we can also see in those scriptures that they also gave Him their worship and devotion.

They also gave Him their time, for they traveled a long distance that could have taken weeks or months or possibly even years, depending on where the starting point of their journey was. The Bible doesn’t specify that.

And they gave him their energy and effort. Travel wasn’t easy in those days. If you think it’s tiring in our day and time to fly to distant cities and to sleep in hotels, try traveling on camels across all kinds of terrain and sleeping in tents.

But one thing is sure, meeting Jesus made it all worthwhile. You can write that down.

Roger Alford is pastor of South Fork Baptist Church. Reach him at 502-514-6857 or by writing to P.O. Box 673, Owenton, Ky., 40359.

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