Wednesday December 30, 2009
by Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Rector & Senior Pastor
In today’s devotional, Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, addresses the first gift of Christmas brought to Jesus by the Magi, the gift of gold. You are invited to join us for worship at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas on Sunday, January 3rd when Rev. Hudson will preach on the second gift of Christmas, the gift of frankincense. And then, on Wednesday, January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, you are invited to worship with us at 7:15pm when Rev. Hudson will preach on the last gift of Christmas, the gift of myrrh. If you are not in Dallas, please join us for worship on line at www.cathedralofhope.com.
Then opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2. 11
An ancient story tells us that following the birth of Jesus, Magi came from the East and brought the first gifts of Christmas, and that the first of those gifts was gold. Gold is a precious metal that, because of its beauty, scarcity and its purity, does not lose its value. Gold is a standard against which precious things are judged, the gold standard. And on that first Christmas, the Magi brought gold, but even their gold could not match the standard that God was giving.
Today there seems to be one asset whose value has been dropping faster than the stock market, the asset of human dignity, the regard with which we treat others. I grieve for so many of us who sense that our lives are somehow demeaned, discounted, or devalued because of who we are, what we do, who we love, or what we believe. What in this world tells us that we are valued and valuable? Against all we face in our day to day living, where is the affirmation that we are loved and loveable? Who will bear the good news among us that our value is not about the clothes we wear or the car we drive, the money in our bank account or the job we hold?
The story of the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus tells a different story. It tells us that our value doesn’t lie in any of these things, but that our value lies in a manger. Our value lies sleeping in a stable under the back stairs of an inn, in a lost corner of our world, because that is where God chose to inhabit human life. God poured eternity into a child and said, “I do this for you,” meaning that our personal worth is not an achievement or a position, not a title or a possession, not even someone else’s opinion of us. Our true worth is a gift, a gift of God’s love for us, for you and me.
Long ago, the Magi, wise teachers took all their gold and gave it away, because they had found something far more valuable than their wealth and their wisdom. They had found their worth: their precious, infinite, incalculable importance in the eyes of God. They looked at a child and saw that their lives mattered, that they were loved.
In this season of the Twelve Days of Christmas, as we anticipate the Feast of Epiphany when we celebrate the visitation of the Magi, I wonder what it would mean for you to discover the one thing that is far more valuable than your possessions and your knowledge: Your worth! Look at the child again. In his life you are given the gift of God’s love. So, what gift will you bring, in this New Year, to the one who has given you everything?
Holy One, descend again to me, I pray. Enter my life and remind me of my value to you. Let me be one who shares the good news of our incalculable worth to those who need to hear it the most. Amen.