We hear the popular tune, The Little Drummer Boy, a lot this time of year. That story, of course, is fiction. But the idea behind it is beautiful.
On a real level, however, the first gifts were a bit different.
The shepherds in the fields visited and worshipped the newborn king. So there is a basis for continuing the tradition of giving joy by visiting others at this time of year and for worshipping together.
The angels in heaven sang. So the tradition of giving joy by the singing of carols this season has a real basis in our faith.
The three Wise Men, however, really put the icing on the gift cake. How can any of us duplicate the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh? In a way, those three gifts were necessary to the well being of the child. When the family had to flee into Egypt, they obviously used those gifts to fund the journey and to start up their new life in another country. How can any of us in today's economy give anyone a fresh start with gifts of that level?
Along those lines, funding their journey could be compared to donating to charitable groups. These groups often help pay for travels to and from medical appointments for the needy. They often subsidize the efforts of the homeless in starting a new life off the streets. So, there is a basis for charitable donations this time of year.
When I think of those first gifts in these ways, it is easy to see how I can try to follow in the steps of the angels, shepherds, and wise men that brought the Christ child gifts that first Christmas.
Dear Jesus, please accept my humble efforts to spread joy and to glorify your name with gifts similar to those of long ago.