The three wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to honor Christ. What can these three gifts teach us about Christmas and following Jesus today? We’ll explore these gifts over the next three weeks.
Gold is, of course, the standard for many monetary systems around the world and is used in jewelry and other high end merchandise. Saying something is the gold standard or winning a gold medal is immediately understood to mean it is the best.
The physical properties of gold are fascinating and part of why it is so valuable. Gold is a soft metal that is chemically unreactive. It is often used in alloy form to increase its durability. It conducts electricity well, does not corrode, and is non-toxic so is used in computer chips and, through electroplating, covers other corrosive metals to protect them.
Applying these properties to our walk with Christ, we can see many parallels. We are to be malleable in the hands of our creator so that He can form us into the masterpiece He intended. Soft hearts and submissive attitude to the will of God allow us to be refined.
“[I] will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
We are called to be in the world but not of the world…chemically unreactive and non corrosive. The Holy Spirit lives within us giving us the ability to love and live in this world while maintaining our identity as children of God. We will look different because we are different.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
1 John 3:1
We were created to live in community with God and other believers. When we join others in God-centered fellowship, we become an alloy that is more durable and long-lasting than we can be on our own. Through grace and forgiveness, our sins and corrosive nature are covered by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit protects us and conducts God’s Word into our hearts.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Symbolically, gold represents kingship. I think back to the story of Esther when she entered the king’s presence without being called. This was punishable by death (even for the queen!) and the king had to hold out his golden scepter to pardon her for this breach of conduct and show that she was welcome to approach. Royalty, wealth, and power are all associated with gold.
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put in your eyes, so you can see.”
Jesus is our King. Unlike the kings of old, we are always welcome to enter His presence. His love for us is so great that He calls us children of God! We are royalty, we have access to the fullness of God and are given power over all that stands against Him.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
1 Peter 2:9
Let us embrace our identity in Christ. Let us live pure and holy lives that honor God. Let us savor the Holy Spirit’s work of refinement in our hearts.
May we shine like newly minted gold and spark God’s refining fire in the lives of those around us.