Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gifts for a King

Christmas has become a season where we are consumed with gifts. Gifts that we want others to give us and gifts we pick out specifically for those we love (or those we get stuck with in Secret Santa exchanges ;)). In the midst of thinking about what gifts to give this year, my mind has gone to the gifts that were given to Jesus. 

On the first Christmas, the Wise men brought Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. These gifts represented who God was- King of Kings (Gold is for Kings), that He was to be worshiped (Frankincense was used in worship) and the type of life he was going to live (Myrrh was use in burials, so this represented the fact that Jesus would endure suffering and death). These gifts were expensive and had meaning and weight. They weren't chosen randomly and they were fit for a King. They also risked their lives by choosing to not tell the King where Jesus was.

Another time in the Bible that Jesus was given a "gift" was when a woman poured very expensive perfume on his feet (story in Luke 7:37-8). This passage says,

“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” (Luke 7:37-38)

This (nameless) woman was scolded by Jesus' disciples. They were aphauled that she would use such expensive perfume to put on Jesus' feet and thought the money should be used to help the poor. However, Jesus' response was, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." (Matthew 26:10-13)

In all of these examples of gifts given to Jesus, the giver was so consumed by the King that the cost didn't matter. The gifts were given out of love, honor and respect. 

The question I have been pondering while reading about all of this is, "What gifts am I giving to the King?". There are many areas where I feel stretched beyond my own human abilities lately. It honestly would be easier to throw in the towel rather than continue to be obedient and follow what God has called me to. I'm learning that it is in these areas where gifts are given to the Lord. When I reach the end of myself, but still chose to be obedient. Still chose to seek forgiveness, to move into relationship, to push past what I am capable of on my own strength, this is where the obedience truly comes in. Like the woman who poured perfume on Jesus' feet, she could have fallen at His feet and repented. However, she did more than that, she wept (which makes us believe she was repentant) and she poured someone of great value on Jesus as a form of worship and admiration. In the same way, we are called not only to be obedient, but to do so with a  joyful heart- one that longs to give good things to it's King. 

As the Christmas song, "Joy to the World" says, "Let every heart prepare Him room", I believe this is where we start. Our life becomes a gift to the Lord when we have prepared room for Him in our hearts. The wise men went on a long journey to find Jesus and this women went into the house of people she probably didn't associate with. They went out of their way for the King. This Christmas I am meditating on ways I can prepare room in my heart for Jesus. How can I go out of my way to spend time at His feet, in complete worship of the King? In this, I believe we give Jesus the gift He wants the most from His children- our time and our worship. 

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