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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12172014 Wednesday of Advent 3

No Sermon Audio - Due to Cancelled Service

December 17, 2014
What spices your life?
May the offering of our time to be in the presence of our Lord be a blessing not only for our lives, but also our souls as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the entrance of the King of Kings!  AMEN.

One of the most cherished items I have as a Pastor here at Emmanuel, I received, not at my ordination, nor on an anniversary or milestone event in my life.  It isn’t something that takes up a lot of room.  But the significance of it brings full circle the last three weeks of our Advent Series.

We began talking about Gold and how we should offer, not materialistic things, but our very selves to God.  Last week we asked, what do you smell?  When frankincense was offered to Jesus Christ, it was a prophecy of His future as our High Priest.  And finally this evening we come to Myrrh.

For me as a Pastor, my most prized possession that I carry to minister to the saints of Emmanuel is the oil of anointing I have in a communion set bought for the church.  Anointing with oil is an ancient practice in the church that even the Apostles alluded to after Jesus return to heaven.  The Apostles would send the elders of the church to sick members to read scripture, but also make the sign of the Cross over their foreheads and hearts.  It was a clear reminder for the people that they were the redeemed children of God.

Not only were they redeemed, but the sick would have read to them from the Gospels, Psalms and sung hymns to remind them of their baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  This reminder is where the people of God are clearly connected, not only to the Apostles, but to the last gift given to Jesus Christ by the Magi.

For the Magi’s gifts, all three, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are important, but this last gift takes on special significance.  Myrrh was not only used as a means to make people’s clothes smell better, for they did not like our current culture take showers or baths every morning or evening.  But Myrrh was used by families specifically at a time of an individual’s life that was at the exact opposite of birth.  Myrrh was one of the spices used for embalming.

The Magi in inspiration from God brought the gift of Myrrh as a further prophecy of Jesus death.  Not only was this a foretelling of Jesus death, but for Jesus it was meant to be a clear reminder of His life as a sacrifice.  Jesus coming down from heaven was a clear sacrifice of epic proportions.  Jesus Christ chose to come to the earth, be born of a virgin, live in poverty, be baptized by John the Baptist, heal the sick and minister to the poor.  In Jesus Christ coming down from heaven He fulfilled the plan of salvation for all of mankind.  For in Jesus Christ being born in a manger and receiving the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, He received not only the gifts, but chose to die in order that we might live.

For this gift of Myrrh given by the Magi points clearly to His death over 30 years later.  And this gift was given not only as a reminder for them, but for us as well.  One day we will die.  But for we who have been baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection, death no longer has dominion over us.  Because of Jesus Christ, death no longer has sway over us, we are set free and this gift of Myrrh is the reminder for us of this fact as we gather here this last Wednesday night of Advent.

Recently, I visited one individual who certainly needs not only our prayer, but also the reminder of their baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  You see death is very close for them and my visits are the opportunity not only to remind them of God’s promises, but to retell why Jesus Christ came into this world in a lowly manger.  When I visit them there is one song that clearly reminds them of this fact and reality and I share it every time.  “Jesus loves me this I know”.  This song not only reminds them of Jesus love for them, but also of Jesus willingness to come in a lowly manger and receive the three gifts of the Magi of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

May we as we prepare for our celebration of Jesus birth, be reminded and comforted with the reality that we are only sojourners on this earth and the Gifts of the Magi are but reminders of another sojourner, Jesus Christ.  For He came to sacrifice Himself for us in order that we might have eternal life with Him in His kingdom.  And His gift to us of Himself was for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel on this last Wednesday of Advent in 2014.  AMEN.

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