Friday, December 23, 2011

Gifts for a King

Ah, Christmas. The time of year when lights are displayed, credit cards are maxed, children are sugar-rushed, adults are Starbucks-rushed, and everyone says, "It's all about Jesus." Okay, yes, I am a little bit cynical.

I do enjoy Christmas. I have wonderful Christmas memories and make new ones each year. However, in the preparation of the season, I feel a little divided. Part of my heart wants to go shopping and buy presents for everyone. It is fun to buy and give gifts and see people enjoy them. But another part of my heart feels conflicted, because it knows that the shopping is not what Christmas is about.

While "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is my favorite Christmas cartoon, I know I wouldn't be joining hands and singing if I awoke to no tree, no stockings, and no presents. I would be disappointed. I would be sad. I would be calling the cops.

Honestly, Christmas has gotten much easier for me in the last few years. We have had to learn to say no to many of our Christmas traditions. I do alot of my shopping "in-house;" meaning I scour our books and other treasures to see what I can give to my extended family.

As a teacher I receive gift cards to Chic-fil-a, so I can eat out too! God is good. And always, always God sends someone to bless us so that we are able to give gifts to our kids. I am abundantly blessed and I am thankful.

So why do I feel so out of sorts?

I think some about bringing a gift to Jesus, because it is His birthday. And I realize at least in my life and in my Christmas how easily I forget Him. How easily He is just another part, like maybe decorations or cookies and not really the real "reason for the season." I look for opportunities to give gifts of time and love and material possessions to those less fortunate than me. Giving those gifts make me feel good, but still ... I struggle. Did I just tack those gifts on to feel better about myself?

You see, at the root, I have a spiritual problem. Not a money problem. I want more things. I want more ease and comfort. I am storing up things that will be eaten by moths, rusted, or stolen by thieves. Jesus tells me that where my treasure is, then my heart will be there. It doesn't matter if I am "poor" or "rich." Those are really just comparison standards in the U.S., where the poor own cars, televisions, and have satellite TV.

It's my heart. That is where I am divided and out of sorts. That is what Jesus wants for Christmas--my whole, undivided heart. It doesn't seem much of a gift really. "Here, Jesus, have this sin, this hypocrisy, these anxieties, this mess." Only the one true God could want such a gift or make anything out of it. And He does.

When I was 26 years old, He took my sins and gave me a robe of righteousness. And He didn't stop His work there. The Father keeps molding and making me into His image and preparing me for eternity with Him. When I slide toward the world (normal), His Spirit wrestles with my heart. He has a heart that won't let go of mine. Wow, do I love that about Him!

Welcome, Savior and Redeemer, here is my divided heart. For Christmas please take it and make it Yours alone. No idols. No division. Nothing out of sorts.

Merry Christmas.

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