Merry Christmas!

Earlier this week, we watched the story of Esther in One Night with the King.  It was enjoyable, and where it strayed from the Bible, it didn’t do so in significantly harmful ways.  The movie brought out more of the sacrifices that Esther was faced with, being a Jew in a non-Jewish world.  The movie didn’t show, and we don’t know from the Bible, whether she had to eat pork.  She had the discussion with her uncle in the flick, but it wasn’t resolved as much as alluded to.  In the Bible, she “does not make known” her race and religion, based on her uncle’s instruction.  Either way, she had to subordinate her will to that of the king.

The gifts I blogged about recently – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – were gifts to a different King.  These were offered to the baby Jesus in recognition of His royalty, His holiness, and His significant death.  I don’t know how God prompted these wise men to bring these three things, but their gifts were very appropriate.  They have theological significance, of course, but they also had earthly significance.  These would have been great house-warming presents for a young couple.  The size of each gift is not specified, but the total value would have been large.

And the wise men gave the gifts freely, expecting nothing in return.  The valuable content in those chests was a way of paying homage to a deserving King.

And so we come down to modern days.  We survived Y2K (ten years ago!), and we made it through without knowing to call the first decade of the new century (except, awkwardly, “the first decade of the new century”.  Using “the oughties” or “the noughties” is just too cute.).  We still celebrate Christmas, even though it has become politically correct to say “Happy holidays”.  We still have Christmas parties at work, though we call them something else.  And we still have a gift exchange.

But why?  Why give gifts, bought in a rush, starting with that strange practice of Black Friday?  Why wrap the presents brightly and wait until Christmas day to open them?

Of course we are emulating the wise men, giving gifts to those who are worthy.  And who is more worthy of a gift than God, the creator of all things?  And what better gift than ourselves, given purely and unselfishly, without reservation or expectation of return?

Esther gave herself to the king, made him master, and through God’s workings was able to save the Jewish people from destruction.  We can give ourselves to the King, make Him master, and through God’s workings – well, only God knows what we will do.

And as uncle Mordecai told Esther,

Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?