COLUMN: What would you bring to Jesus?
Wise men from the East brought baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. What gifts would you have brought?
"I would give Jesus a lot of money, a big sheep and a balloon that reads, 'It's a boy!'" says Perry, age 11.
Perry, I don't know about balloons, but I suspect there were more than a few trumpets blown in heaven when Jesus was born. At least one angel couldn't contain his joy. "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people," the angel announced to some shepherds.
"If I had been one of the wise men, I would have brought a pillow and blanket because Jesus might have been cold," says Jordan, 6.
The wonder of Christmas lies in the humility of the savior's birth. An unsanitary barn would not be the first choice of any mother bringing her child into the world. Jesus, the Lord of the universe, had to stoop very low to enter our world through this door. Is God telling us something more than the fact that there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn?
God goes where he is wanted. "You will see it all through Scripture," writes Pastor Joe McKeever. "'When you enter a city,' Jesus told his disciples, 'whoever does not receive you or heed your words, shake the dust off your feet.' They were not to give God's truth to the hostile or disrespectful.
"Tell me if this is not the most amazing picture in the Bible -- Jesus Christ, the son of God, humbly asking us to receive him. He does not force himself on anyone but goes into homes and hearts where he is made welcome."
"I would bring him a friend because friends are fun to play with," says Laurie, 7.
Jesus loved friends. He often ate with people whom the religious leaders shunned. He became known as the "friend of sinners."
"I would have brought a dog to Jesus because he needed protection," says Hunter, 6.
Baby Jesus did need protection. King Herod wanted to be sure that any rival kings were dead (even baby ones). So he told the wise men to tell him where they found Jesus. In a dream, God warned the wise men, and they secretly went home without telling Herod.
When Herod discovered he had been tricked, he went ballistic. In his frustration, he ordered all the children in Bethlehem who were 2 years or younger to be killed. An angel, however, warned Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt with baby Jesus.
"I would bring Jesus a lamb because it is a special kind of animal," says Matthew, 7. "It is a picture of Jesus. He is the shepherd, and he loves sheep."
Matthew, you're probably aware that thousands of lambs were sacrificed during the Passover feast. During the original Passover in Egypt, the angel of death passed over each Jewish home that had lamb's blood on its doorframes. John the Baptist called Jesus "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
"If I could give Jesus a present, I would give him as much gold as I could find, but I can't give him anything to pay him for dying for me," says Kevin, 10.
In the ancient East, you always brought a gift when approaching a superior. Gold has long been the precious metal of royalty. Frankincense was one of the spices in the mixture of incense burned daily in Israel's temple. And myrrh was used to anoint the body of Jesus for burial. Many have seen the royalty, deity and death of Jesus in the wise men's gifts.
"I would bring him a gold crown because I love him, and he is the king," says Chelsea, 8.
What gift would you bring to the King of kings?