I’m finding it extremely difficult to believe that Christmas is barely a day away from now. December seemed to fly by, and I’m a little nervous about what the new year will bring. Maybe for you, like me, this past year was pretty horrible. My job situation went from bad to worse, and my financial situation followed suit. I was unemployed for half of the year, and I just started a new job in a new field that I’m pretty apprehensive about. (Not to mention my seemingly normal, non-existent dating life.)
Basically, it would be pretty easy for me to come to the Christmas Day with a bad, toddler-style “gimme” attitude. As I was trying to process it all, I was reminded of the story of the Magi coming to Jesus. They came to Him and offered Him costly gift. And I heard a small voice ask:
What costly gift are you bringing me?
My immediate negative and cynical answer was: “Ha! I’ve literally got nothing. You’ve given me a fairly terrible year, Lord. I’ve got a few lumps of coal I’d like to get rid of.” Somewhere in all of that, I remembered a married friend of mine’s post about her Christmas gift strategy for her toddler. Here’s what she said:
We don’t want PG to grow up thinking Christmas, or life in general, is about getting stuff, but it sure is fun to give gifts to people, and your children, especially. PG will get three gifts based off the three gifts the wise men brought baby Jesus. A gold gift – something she wants. A frankincense gift – frankincense was used in the temple, so this is something to further spiritual growth. Finally, there is the myrrh gift. Myrrh was used for medicinal purposes, so this is something for the body (e.g. clothes, shoes, etc).
As I remembered her post, I started reflecting on the gifts (both the good and painful) God has given in the last year and how I might lay them on altar for Him this Christmas.
Gold – Something I wanted …
God has blessed me this year with a wealth of friendships and meaningful ministry. I didn’t particularly ask for more friends, but He’s filled my life with some pretty awesome people.
Frankincense – Something He taught me …
God has shown me that His Word is my only hope. I’ve always struggled with consistent quiet times, but God has given me a vision for memorizing and meditating on His Word that has been a firm foundation for my heart.
Myrrh – Something that was painful …
God has led me through an incredibly difficult year in terms of my job situation, finances, and what seems to be a dead year in terms of dating or “getting closer” (whatever that means) to getting married. There have been some really dark times this year where I was really angry, unbelievably afraid, and basically, freaking out.
It doesn’t do us any good to be glib about our problems or cynical about our joys. Instead, I want us to live genuinely before God, offering Him our hearts, our joys, and our sorrows for Him to use as He sees fit.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14-19
Feel free to share your gold, frankincense, and myrrh in the comments.