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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

As the month of December coincides with the Christmas season, in this month I intend to dwell exclusively on all the topics revolving around Christmas using the visit of the Wise man described in Matthew 2 as the base.

Let me wish you a happy and an edifying read… oh yes-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US!

Suresh Manoharan




December 16th

Depiction of early Death



On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. - Matt 2:11

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. - John 19:39
 
  After having meditated on the significance of the two of the three gifts given by the Wise men, today lets focus on their final gift-Myrrh- which would have doubtless confused any lay observer at that time, for the concerned gift was, at least prima facie totally out of place. Myrrh, traditionally in those days was used for embalming of the dead bodies, how odd then that it should be given as a gift to the young one!

Any lay observer familiar with the Jewish burial rituals witnessing this scene of Myrrh being given as a gift to the little child of maximum 2 years would have been justified in thinking that all wisdom has taken leave of the Wise men, for it was almost like gifting a small coffin to a boy of tender age! Any way for the spiritually discerning, who are convinced that each gift of the Wise men was inspired by the Holy Spirit, all the gifts of Wise men including Myrrh would be no cause for surprise for them for each of them portrayed a truth concerning Christ’s life in this World. We know the significance of the other 2 gifts, so what was the significance, the latent meaning, as it were, behind the third gift-Myrrh? Let me not keep the readers in suspense for long. If anything, Myrrh-the embalming material- depicted the early death of Christ, for 33 years is hardly the age for any one to die. If the average life span of a person even by Biblical standards is 70 years (Psalm 90:10), then years 30-35 represent the peak of one’s life. This leads to a thought, which makes tears flow copiously out of one’s eye. The life, which was offered on the Cross-, was not only holy but also the one, which was ‘in full bloom’, so as to convey to all that the concerned offering was price less.

Let our sacrifices’ to our God be of worth to us. For instance, if there is a call to take-up Full time Spiritual work from our Heavenly Father in our young age, whilst being employed in a secular firm, then what is the use of postponing our response to His call up to retirement age, when one’s faculties are seriously diminished? Are we going to present ourselves to God, when we have been branded as ‘too old to work’ by a secular organization and put out to pasture? Is that a sacrifice, in the first place to ‘volunteer’ for God’s work in old age, when you have nothing else to do? Let’s make hay for our Creator to whom we owe our very existence while sun shines…spiritual hay that is.

Continuing our thoughts in this subject for yet another day, let’s touch upon a related subject tomorrow ‘ How can I discern God’s call for full-time work’?

Prayer:

Father, in heaven your Son in the prime of his life laid it all down at an altar at Calvary as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind to teach us by example that our offerings to thee, if any, ought to be costly. Father, everything in your Son’s life is inspirational and full of meaning…including the age of his death on the cross. How fortunate we are to follow and serve such a peerless Leader. Amen
 


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