Scripture: Matthew 2:7-11
What is it that makes Christmas, Christmas for you? I have learned along life’s way that there are different things for different people that make Christmas, Christmas. What makes Christmas for some, may not make Christmas, Christmas for others.
Fruitcake and eggnog does it for me. When I was younger, it was mincemeat pie. For some, it is caroling and for others, it is the Christmas tree that makes Christmas, Christmas or gifts under the tree or keys to that new car, or new house. And then for others, Christmas ain’t Christmas without the one you love.
Sisters and brothers, Christmas ain’t Christmas without a few of our favorite things, which have a way of making us feel better. They make us feel better because they are our favorite things and they are our favorite things because they are appropriate things.
In the early part of this decade, the most sought after ticket in daytime television was the “Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things Show.”
This was the show where Oprah shared with the audience a few of her favorite things. In her final season the 25th season she just went over the top. I could not watch that show without getting goose bumps.
Among the gifts she gave them were a pair of Jessica Leigh diamond earrings valued at $1,900, a Philip Stein Limited Edition Diamond Watch valued at $2,475, a Sony Bravia LX900 HDTV valued at $3,600 and a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle that was not on the market at the time of the show.
As over the top as the final season show was, the 2004 “Favorite Things Show” was more memorable. She brought 300 teachers from every state in the U.S. to the show and gave them a few of her favorite things.
Among them were a Burberry quilted jacket and cashmere scarf, a Dell 30” flat screen television, a Maytag Neptune washer and dryer, a Dunne and Burke crocodile leather duffle bag, an all- expense-paid trip for three days and two nights at the Merryvale Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona, and a Movado ribbon watch.
While these were things that Oprah said teachers could not afford on their salary, she also gave them some things that teachers could not afford to be without. She gave them each a $500 gift certificate to Office Max to purchase school supplies and a Sony laptop computer. Oprah’s favorite things were appropriate things for teachers.
Not only did Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show give me goose bumps, but this text gives me goose bumps as well. As these wise men followed the star to where the young child and his mother were, they brought Jesus a few of their favorite things. They brought him gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (vv.7-11).
Their favorite things seemed odd gifts for a child, but were appropriate for a king. Gold, the metallurgic choice of royalty; frankincense, an expensive incense used in offerings in the temple; and myrrh, an expensive perfume used in the anointing oil of the high priest.
Perhaps that’s the message of the season – that whatever gift we give ought to be fit for a king. Whatever gift we give ought to be an appropriate gift in response to the gift that God gave the world. For God so loved the world that He gave the only begotten Son (John 3:16). God gave God’s favorite thing when He gave us Jesus.
And when the dog bites
And when the bee stings
And when you’re feeling sad
Just remember God’s favorite thing
Then you won’t feel so sad. Amen, Amen, and Amen!
The Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway is the senior pastor of Bethel AME Church, 7900 S. Western Ave., in Los Angeles.