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Today with Greg Thornton

As we celebrate Christ’s birth this month, many of us will exchange presents with our friends and family to show our love and affection. In part, we’re following the example of the gifts given to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel records the arrival of the gift-bearing Magi: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’” (2:1–2).

Scripture doesn’t tell us much about these visitors. They came from the east, perhaps Persia, and were following a mysterious star. Though Herod wanted to hear about their quest, he did not share their enthusiasm about this new King. Suspicious and furious, he demanded they find Him and report His exact location.

The Magi were determined to find the King and worship Him. Imagine Mary’s surprise when these important-looking men appeared inquiring about her son. They bowed before Jesus, offering Him their costly treasures: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (vv. 11–12).

Matthew’s Gospel will later tell us about Jesus’ death on a cross, His victorious resurrection, and His ascension. The introduction of these three gifts at the beginning of this Gospel hints to us that this child will be the King of Kings, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world.

How can we honor Jesus this Christmas? What can we give Him to show our devotion? Years ago, Christina Rossetti explored these questions in her poem:

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a wise man, I would do my part;

Yet what can I give Him? Give Him my heart.”

Like the Magi, we can offer Jesus our devotion, our treasure, and our love. Author A. W. Tozer says it well: “We are to give ourselves, holding nothing back. We are to offer up what we consider our dearest treasures, open handed for God to use as He wills. We are to offer our hearts, our service, our attention, our commitment. Full and unfettered.”

This Christmas, even while we enjoy time with our family and friends, let us take time to worship the Lord Jesus and make Him the center of all our celebrations. He deserves our adoration.

BY Greg Thornton, Interim President of Moody Bible Institute

Greg Thornton is interim president of Moody Bible Institute. During Thornton’s 35 years of ministry at Moody, he has served in various roles, most recently as senior vice president of media. Moody’s Alumni Association named Thornton Alumnus of the Year in 2015. Thornton is a member of The Moody Church, where he serves as an elder. He and his wife, Grace, have been married for more than 35 years and have three children and five grandchildren.

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