• Bonnie Alderdice • December 22, 2020 •
When I was a little girl, there was an expensive children’s boutique where we would frequently window shop. One holiday season there was a dress that I fell in love with. Its black velvet bodice and floor length lace skirt were set off by lovely roses at the hem and collar. I wanted that dress. However, it was much too expensive and impractical a dress for my parents to purchase for an eight-year-old. Oh but how I dreamed of that dress. When we would shop at the other stores nearby, I would wander to the window to peek in and see my dress.
A few weeks later in the wee hours of Christmas morning, my brothers and I sneaked into the dining room to see what treasures were left under the tree. There hanging from the trim of the kitchen door was my beautiful dress. Illuminated by the glow from the Christmas tree it was more beautiful than I remembered. This dress was different though. It was identical in every way to the dress in the shop except the tag in the collar said “Lovingly made by hand for Bonnie Jean”. This was no store bought dress. My mother had replicated the dress I had dreamed about for weeks. It was perfect.
It’s been said that a gift must meet three principles for it to be considered “perfect”,
1. A gift should reflect the one who gives it.
2. A gift should reflect knowledge of the one who receives it.
3. A perfect gift should be of a nature and quality that will hold its value as time goes on.
My mother’s gift to me represented all of these qualities,
First, the gift was a reflection of my mother – her skill with a needle and thread was obvious, and her love for me was evident.
Second, the gift proved the knowledge she had of me – she knew I would love it, because as my mother she knew everything about me.
Third, the gift has timeless quality – It is a piece of superior craftsmanship. It has traveled the last 42 years with me. I wore it every chance I got. Then my girls wore it to tea parties in the backyard and around the house. It has never needed repaired.
Every memory of Christmas is always overshadowed by the Christmas in 1979. I can remember that Christmas morning vividly and then how beautiful I felt wearing my dress to my Aunt Beverly’s wedding a few days later. When I see this dress hanging in the back of my closet, I revisit those same happy memories. They are a sweet reminder of love to me.
There are three exceptional gifts mentioned in scripture during another Christmas time.
1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:1-3, NKJV)
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11, NKJV)
While we are never told how many wise men there were, traditionally we are taught there were three, given that only three gifts are mentioned in scripture. Jesus was presented with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Can we apply the three principles for a perfect gift to these items?
Gold is expensive so the giver of this gift must’ve been a man of means. The gold itself would therefore be a reflection of the gift giver’s wealth. Often a gold gift was only given to royalty. Perhaps we can see the kingship of Jesus through this gift.
Frankincense was fragrant incense used in biblical times in temple routines and burned ceremonially by the priests. The gift of frankincense is said to have been an acknowledgement of Jesus’ priesthood, setting him apart from a typical king. Did the wise men know this?
Myrrh was an expensive perfume or ointment that had lasting value. While it was commonly associated with death and burial, Myrrh was used in the holy anointing oil used to anoint the tabernacle, high priests, and kings. We can see this gift of myrrh as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ anointing. We can also see the symbolism associated with Jesus’ sacrificial death.
While Jesus received perfect gifts at his birth, He was also a perfect gift given to us. The Gift of Jesus meets all of the principles for being a perfect gift.
First, Jesus is the perfect gift because He reflects the Father who gave Him.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (John 5:19, ESV)
In the Word when we see Jesus’ acts of compassion, mercy, and love we see the Father. When we hear Jesus’ words, see his power or generosity, we see the Father. In John 14:9 Jesus said to Phillip “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (ESV)
The gift of Jesus reflects the Father as the gift giver.
Secondly, Jesus is the perfect gift because God gave Him knowing what we needed.
The Lord knew we needed a savior. Jesus could be all things; a friend, healer, redeemer. Someone like us, able to understand what we experience daily, but yet fully God. Able to become a sacrifice bearing the weight of our sin, as well as the punishment. Nothing a man could do. Only Jesus could meet this need. By becoming our substitution Jesus paid a debt he did not owe, for a debt we could not pay. God knew what we needed, and He sent the perfect gift in Jesus.
Thirdly, the Gift of Jesus is of eternal value.
16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17, NIV)
The gift of salvation through Jesus is invaluable. All we need to do is receive the gift the Father has sent us. Thousands of years later, the Gift of Jesus is still the perfect gift.
I did nothing to earn or deserve that dress so many Christmases ago. But because of my mother’s love for me, her knowledge of me, and her desire to see me happy, I was gifted that garment. All I did was accept the wonderful gift. In the Lord’s knowledge of us, love for us, and the desire to be with us for eternity, He gave us Jesus as the Perfect Gift.