I want to think today about what Gabriel told Mary. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32).
The wise men who came to see Jesus gave Him gifts (Matthew 2:1-12). To them, they may simply have been mementoes from their country, or perhaps they fully understood what these gifts represented. Had they been Jewish, frankincense might have reminded them of the fragrant incense offered before God. “Take these sweet-smelling spices: Resin, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense. Be sure that you have equal amounts of each. Make incense as a person who makes perfume would do. Add salt to it to keep it pure and holy. Beat some of the incense into a fine powder, and put it in front of the Ark of the Agreement in the Meeting Tent, where I will meet with you. You must use this incense powder only for its very special purpose. Do not make incense for yourselves the same way you make this incense. Treat it as holy to the LORD” (Exodus 30:34-37). “Aaron must burn sweet-smelling incense on the altar every morning when he comes to take care of the oil lamps. He must burn incense again in the evening when he lights the lamps, so incense will burn before the LORD every day from now on” (Exodus 30:7-8). Offering frankincense to Jesus was basically spelling out what the angel Gabriel had said – that He came from God.
As we count down to Christmas and turn our focus towards it, this might be a good time to think what you believe about Jesus. “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” – C. S. Lewis.