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  • Eric Kampmann

The Gift

See Psalm 73:27–28

The world on the eve of the birth of Jesus Christ was a world soaked in sin. Violence flashed in the cold air as Jerusalem cringed under the iron yoke of Rome. The world was threatening and heartless, but there was also an air of expectation that something momentous was taking place. Wise men from the east had traveled long distances to come to Jerusalem to find the child destined to be king. They asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).

Herod, who ruled in Jerusalem as a Roman puppet, was the perfect embodiment of all the corruption and darkness that permeated David’s holy city. When Herod heard of the Magi’s sacred mission, he sent his soldiers to search out and destroy the defenseless child. The rich and powerful, steeped in sin and corruption, choose, from the outset, to destroy this Savior rather than embrace Him.

Now as we prepare to celebrate the feast of the miracle of the birth of the Christ child, we should remember that he entered a dangerous and unwelcoming world. Still he came into this world at a particular time to a particular place so that he could seek out sinners for all time and from any place.

When we think of Christmas, we think of gifts, not fully realizing that the gifts we give are merely symbols of the greatest gift of all. Jesus was born into a troubled world as a way to reveal the true heart of God. Jesus came into our world on that cold night not as a conqueror, but as a Savior. He came to set the prisoners free once and for all.

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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