|Posted on December 23, 2019 at 10:50 AM|
If you are like me, you are a last-minute shopper for Christmas presents. I’m not sure why. Probably because I tend to put off the effort in hopes of an easier or more novel way to show my love to those I shop for. Whatever the reason I find myself in the same situation today two days before Christmas. But while I try to think of what I will give to others I have to pause and consider what I will give to Jesus. After all, it is his birthday.
At its core giving Christmas gifts is an expression of love. I don’t know where the tradition began for sure, but I suspect it has something to do with the wise men giving gifts to the Christ child as recorded in Matthew’s gospel. If that’s the case, then it seems that giving gifts at Christmas needs to start with giving to Jesus. But that raises another issue entirely. What do you give the Creator and Sustainer of the universe? What could he possibly need or want? (And I thought finding a gift for my wife was difficult).
As I have come to know more about Jesus over the years, I’ve learned what seems to make him the happiest is when I trust him. I can’t fully understand it but my faith in him seems to be of the utmost importance to him. Maybe its because trusting him is an expression of my realizing who he is and what he has and is doing for me. Or maybe it is simply a realization and receiving of his unconditional and sacrificial love for me. Whatever the reason I am convinced that trusting him is a gift I can give Jesus.
But I noticed the wise men gave Jesus more than one gift. Matthew said they gave him “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” While the gold may represent my faith in him, what about the frankincense and myrrh? Historically frankincense was used as a comforting aroma and myrrh as a healing agent. They seem to represent the comfort of hope and the healing that comes from love. Giving Jesus our faith produces in us the hope we need to love others like he does. In addition to trusting him I can also commit my life to him in the strength of the hope of glory. I can “present my body to him as a living sacrifice” with the endurance and comfort of the Spirit.
Finally, I can give Jesus the gift of love this Christmas by my willingness to be used to love others around me. As he told his disciples, “If you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me”. Being used of God to share his love for others is the final expression of our faith in Jesus. No matter where I am or who I spend this Christmas with I can trust Jesus for the grace to love others like he does. I am sure that the gift of living out his life through me is all that Jesus wants for Christmas. Merry Christmas.