Our Finest Gifts We Bring

little-drummer-boy-drummer

There are two shopping days before the year’s biggest event. My little family is celebrating on Christmas eve this year, and the last-minute panic has hit. Am I giving enough? Am I giving fairly and equally? Will the gifts I give make them feel known and loved? Did I forget anybody? Oooohhhhhh……

In the hustle and bustle of “The Season”, why is it so easy to overlook the most important person in my life? I have gifts under my tree for everyone else I will see in the next few days. What can I possibly give that is good enough for him?

I’m learning a lot about grace, one of his many gifts to me. I’m learning to rest in the truth that there is nothing I can do to be loved more, or less.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:8-10

So what do you give the person who has, literally, everything? All I have he has given. He has already planned and prepared the way for the good things I am to do in this life. The greatest gift I can give is my honor, love, and thanksgiving as I walk into each of them.

This year, I really relate to the little drummer boy. Our gifts seem small and insignificant, but it is our hearts that make him smile. I want to play my best for him too.

Come they told me.
A new born King to see.
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the King.

So to honor Him
When we come.

Little Baby,
I am a poor boy too.
I have no gift to bring
That’s fit to give the King.

Shall I play for you
On my drum?

Mary nodded.
The ox and lamb kept time.
I played my drum for Him.
I played my best for Him.

Then He smiled at me,
Me and my drum.

Merry Christmas!

Good Enough

This weekend, I was part of a conversation which opened my eyes to some really powerful lies I have fallen for my whole life. A woman was telling me how she struggled with the desire to safeguard her child from “outsiders” when he was growing up. Outsiders, you know, children whose family have a different religious background, or who come from broken homes.

As the words sunk in, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped. And probably not for the reasons you are thinking.

It’s true that this woman did not know I don’t share her religious background, and that my two precious children come from a broken home. It is ironic that she was confiding these thoughts to the very person she feared around her children.

What struck me most of all is how much I have entertained the same exact feelings against people like her, and people like me, and (gasp, this is where my jaw dropped) even myself.

  • Because of my past, I expect parents to hesitate when we invite their kids over, and have been actually shocked when kids are allowed to spend the night with us. (I know how I would judge me.)
  • Because of my past, I find myself double-questioning the nudges to get more involved at my church, and feel like I deserve any extra scrutiny that may come my way. (I know how I would judge me if I was in leadership.)
  • Because of my past, I believe I am not worthy of the only kind of man I would allow to lead my home. (I know how I would judge me if I was watching from the outside.)
  • Because of my past, I feel like I am not good enough to provide a shelter to children in distress. What??? That is where it jumps into the ridiculous.

What brilliant lies to plant, because they have limited me in every arena! I have been an Outsider and not fully comfortable in the world, in my church, in my home, even in my own heart!

They are sneaky, deep, core, underlying lies. Of course I don’t believe them when I write them out… yet, there they are, f0und in my heart. They have informed every decision I make, interpreted every look and hesitation, colored the way I see myself and others.

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:3-5

I am so thankful for the conversation this weekend, and the revelations that are still spiraling out of it. I am his beloved, his new creation. I am whole and complete in him. Aside from giving me a glorious testimony of redemption and renewal, my past has been wiped away. We must learn to receive his love, forgiveness, and acceptance before we can fully love, forgive, and accept others. That is big for me today.