Gift for the Savior
12/25/2016 2:56:26 AM
you are shopping for everyone else. what about Jesus? what are you giving Jesus for Christmas?
Gift for the Savior. Christmas, 2016.
‘Just got back from the hustle and bustle of the mall on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Of course, I wasn’t alone. Folks were running around for those few desired items that had not yet been purchased. The stores were busy, but I don’t mind the crowds; in fact, I rather like them—‘love the energy, the noise, and the people—just love the people.
As I strode through the mall and looked around, I wondered if anyone was shopping for Jesus. ‘Cause in the back of my mind, I have been batting around what I might give Jesus this Christmas. What do I have that he would want? After all, in gift giving, don’t we consider the wants and needs of the receiver? Sure we do, but then the Magi brought gifts that were meaningful and symbolic, not at all tied to needs or wants of the young Messiah (at least so it seemed at that time). And so we read, “In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage … When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Ah, gifts . . . God gave us the gift of his son. God was the one who set the whole gift-giving thing in motion. I was thinking back to a time a few years ago when I was working with street folks in Long Beach. One day there were about 25 of us in a loose circle, and I floated the question: ‘What could you give to the Christ Child this year?’ Silence hung in the air . . . and then David spoke up. A Vietnam vet, battling sobriety, demons from the past, and a rough living situation, he said, ‘Uh… my trust. Yeah, I would trust him more.’ I knew there was so much behind his words, so I inquired, ‘Could you elaborate on that?’ ‘Yeah…I would stop trying to control everything, and trust him more...realize that he is in charge, and that he will take care of things.’ His words were sage.
Is there not a one of us who does not need to trust God with all of who we are?
Another said, ‘Devotion... I would give him my devotion.’ And then there was silence. Inwardly, I scratched my head as I looked around the circle … why was it that these simple folk, most of whom have nothing much to call their own—no home, no appreciable assets, no family, no job--could easily deduce what they could give to their Savior? I guess that is just it…when you have no ‘earthly’ assets on which to draw, then you go to the intangibles,
those which lie within you, and make up who you are,
which happen to be the only things you really have to give.
Funny thing is, those are the things that God wants. I love Christina Rossetti’s final words of her poem, and more than a century later, they are right on point.
“What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man, I would do my part—
Yet what I can I give him? Give my heart.”
God doesn’t need anything from us, and yet, the very thing he wants, is us! Some of us make intellectual decisions, acknowledging that the claims of God have merit, that when one takes the time to check, there is much that is verifiable about Christianity—fulfilled prophecies, historical, scientific, and archaeological proofs that back up the claims of the Gospel. But if those are so, if they are true, then a commitment to the Christ of the Gospel is in order.
That commitment is giving all of who we are to God—
you know, not just enough to get to Heaven, or enough to consider ourselves ‘Christian’ or a lesser standard, ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’. No, God deserves and he requires nothing less than our total devotion—our complete trust.
What do you say then? Perhaps you might give your whole self to the Savior, including the so-called control with which you struggle, even though it is control is just an illusion anyway. Ah go ahead. He loves you like no other. Give him all of you this Christmas of 2016.