December 17, 2016
It’s not that I haven’t been working on it. The tree’s up. Plenty of presents are bought. Christmas books have been read to the kids. Must be something about standing in the middle of a big box store less than two weeks away from Christmas that just made me feel as if I hadn’t done a thing.
It was supposed to be a quick trip in for a bottle of face wash, several boxes of cereal, and a few things for supper. It turned into a giant reminder of all I hadn’t done to get ready for Christmas. The stocking stuffers, wrapping paper, cute little baking supplies. Cue the mental list of what needed to be checked off my to-do list.
I slung my bags into the back of the minivan with a brief ba-hum-bug. Running low on time, money, energy, and apparently a good attitude, what did I have to offer to this last stretch of the holiday season? I hadn’t even baked one cookie I reminded myself.
Rewind a few weeks ago when I was asking myself that same question….what do I have to offer?
It was during the time our church family put on a Christmas drive-thru. We staged ourselves in different scenes to relay the gospel message to those who attended. They needed a boy Jesus to fill out the cast, so when our six year old took the role, his too-old parents got to tag along as Mary and Joseph. We loved it. It was an awesome way to get in the Christmas spirit and spend time with church friends and our own family.
Drivers and passengers heard about Jesus’ birth, life, and death as they listened to a recorded message. Those of us who were in the scenes basically had one job. To remain quiet and still, somewhat frozen in place.
But, do you want to know one of the best parts of the gig? The quiet. Quiet in 45 minute increments. Do that several times for a few nights and this mama found herself some quiet time. Time to think.
I wish I had a running transcript of my thoughts that weekend.
It began reverently enough. “Lord, use us. Reach these people with Your truth.”
In fact, prayer dominated my thoughts. Prayers of thanks and ones for discernment. Even prayers for the boy beside me to quickly rid himself of the wiggles.
Somewhere that ran off the rails. I mean at some point with all of that time to think a girl’s gotta mentally renovate her kitchen and contemplate some of life’s other major questions, “Should we paint the living room the color gray of the wise man’s vest?”
Staring at the wise men bearing their gifts for several hours leads to questions about them.
“I wonder if the person who bought that box he’s bearing used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby?” It did look like an ancient relic, but I’ve been to Hobby Lobby enough to have spotted some there.
Eventually, my thoughts made their way back to ones with more significance.
“What did Mary and Joseph do with those gifts?”
“How did they feel as mom and dad when they received that royal visit?”
Those gifts, those offerings. My mind lingered on them for quite a while.
I imagined myself in the place of the wise men. Just plain old me, standing there. Surely, my box wouldn’t contain the same kind of gift. No gold or precious spice.
Most days I’m just a mom pushing my shopping cart containing store-brand Cinnamon Toast Crunch and boil-in-the-bag rice.
What do I really have to offer?
My answer landed closer to the little drummer boy’s presentation of a song rather than the extravagant gifts of the Magi. My hands seem to be empty of anything worthy to offer the King of Kings.
Or maybe not. Maybe they’re actually full of what I need to give to Him. I’m often weighed down holding what belongs in His hands. Expectations for the future. Hopes for my kids. My time. Boy, what a grip I struggle to maintain on my sacred time.
Perhaps those things we hold most precious could be our offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Our treasures entrusted to Him. Emptying our hands to lay them at His feet. Then we could get back to the still, the quiet of the season…after we bake the cookies and wrap the presents.
Whether you’re running on empty or feel that your hands can’t hold another ounce, give it to Jesus this Christmas. He replaces our emptiness with His love and bears our burdens with His mercy.