It seems the Season keeps coming upon us earlier and earlier each year. It's difficult to get into the correct Holiday Spirit when Christmas trees start popping up at the same time as Halloween masks. These are two celebrations that definitely should never abut one another! Each year we all seem to suffer from the same stress—what to buy for everyone on our Christmas or Chanukah list.
We Americans just keep wanting more and more. Our most sacred holidays have become a relentless greedy quest for consumer goods. This “Black Friday” (aptly named) was a disgraceful display indicative of the current state of our Country complete with fistfights, union protests and out-of-control gluttony. I’m sure there’s an “ObamaPhone” under many a tree this year yet, like all of our entitlement programs, we still want more…always more.
Here’s God’s definition of “more”. It’s the Latin word “magis”. It comes from the Latin phrase “Ad majorem Dei gloriam.” Translated it means “for the greater glory of God.”
Wikipedia describes it best:
"What have I done for God? What am I doing for God? and What MORE can I do for Him?"
That’s the only “more” that we should be asking for.
This week in the news a NYC police office was filmed on a cell phone buying boots and socks for a homeless man who was sitting in the cold with his feet exposed. Unaware that he was being recorded, the police officer graciously purchased the socks and boots and assisted the homeless man in putting them on. Wow—now that’s a level of Christ-likeness that I can only aspire to attain. I’m sure, like most people, I would have crossed the street and taken a wide berth around a scraggly, shoeless, homeless person. Even just writing this sentence makes me cringe with self awareness of my own shallowness and inadequacies.
I have always wondered about the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus when he was a child. Seriously, what DO you get the Master of the Universe? He’s got to be really hard to shop for. He already owns everything and can create anything else He wants. The Wise Men brought three very interesting gifts: Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold.
Frankincense represents Truth. Frankincense is an incense which also connotes Deity and the sweet aroma of prayer. They also brought myrrh. I bet Mary was a little freaked out by that gift. Myrrh in Hebrew culture was an anointing oil used to ritually prepare dead bodies for burial. It represented Suffering and Death--not exactly what any mother wants to see at her baby shower. Gold represents purity, value, refinement and Kingship.
So put all this symbolism together and what is scripture trying to tell us? These gifts indicated:
Pure, refined, highly valuable Truth. After much prayer and expectation, The Messiah has arrived on Earth as the ultimate Sacrifice for our sins. The King of Kings. Lord of Lords.
So, what specifically does God want? We certainly don’t want to make the “Cain mistake” and have God declare our gift was unsatisfactory. It would be pretty embarrassing to find our gift to the Almighty was returned. What does the Bible say? Scripture says we are supposed to bring him “Fire Gifts”:
“Offer Fire-Gifts to God”
Just what are “Fire-Gifts”? After much research and prayer, I compiled this list:
Fasting (Food and and/or Activities in our life)
Meditating on Word
Giving of our Unique Individual Gifts (time, treasure, talents)
I foolishly used to think God must be a big Egomaniac. Why does he need all this attention and “stroking”? Then I got a revelation: Like everything that God asks us to do it will ultimately benefit US if we would just stop being so selfish and withholding. When we meditate on how awesome, majestic, magnificent, all-powerful, amazing, wonderful, loving God is—all our problems seem puny in comparison.
Every Christmas Season, I put out a little Drummer Boy doll for display. I don’t know if this story is even remotely true or if it is just an enduring legend, but I think the story of the Little Drummer Boy gets it right. He had no idea what to give the Creator of the Universe either. So, he gave praise and adoration. He gave of his unique individual talent.
God actually spells out for us in another scripture EXACTLY what is on his desired gift list. You can say He has sort of “registered” his wish list already to make it easy for us.
“So, here’s what I want” …(it doesn’t get any clearer than this folks)
“Take your every day ordinary life—and place it before God as an offering.”
~Romans 12:1-2 (The Message Bible)
Holiday season—give the only gift that matters to the Messiah—
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.
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