A workplace tradition at Christmas is the practise of assigning each employee the name of another co-worker, to be given an anonymous gift. Our office has made our own version of the Secret Santa game; we are to choose a small gift to give which our own secret co-worker would have loved as a child. Then all the gifts, well wrapped of course, are opened when we all gather for the office Christmas party, to uproarious laughter and guessing who the giver is. The gifts are then donated to a childrens Christmas charity. It’s always lots of fun.
Gift giving is a part of Christmas, established long ago when the Magi brought gifts to Jesus. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11 ESV) The gifts were carefully chosen and significant offerings for a king’s son; the fragrant spices were integral in worship, in anointing, and in burial, and the gold was paid in tribute to the high king. The Magi were fulfilling Old Testament promises made years earlier: “May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render Him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before Him, all nations serve Him!” (Psalm 72:10-11 ESV)
There is much criticism made each year of the cost of gift giving, and the eroding of the Christmas message by unbridled consumerism. Yet, receiving a gift thoughtfully chosen and beautifully wrapped brings joy, and in our case, it’s really entertaining and benefits a worthy charity. Perhaps we don’t “rejoice exceedingly with great joy”, but the tradition is eagerly anticipated each year. We ought to heed the Bible’s counsel to be good stewards of our income and give as generously as possible, to honour the tradition of the Magi in gift giving and worship, and be ready to tell others of the significance of the kingly gifts to Jesus which announced His entry into our world. Even in the workplace, the annual Secret Santa event captures some of the joy of being together, giving meaningful gifts, and showing generosity to the poor.
May you and your loved ones enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.