For this to make much sense you’ll have to read last week’s article. If you don’t have access to it, I shared a fictitious story about land of Puzzling Tales. And in the Land of Puzzling Tales the unexpected always happened. For example, rather than snow and below zero temperatures in December, it would be warm and balmy (oh to live in the Land of Tales). It was also in the Land of Tales that when it was someone’s birthday, you would actually give a birthday gift to another person who wasn’t having a birthday. Yes, seems a bit puzzling and unexpected, and yet that’s exactly what we do to celebrate Jesus birthday; we give gifts to each other when it isn’t our birthday.
So here was my challenge for last week. Often times during the season we celebrate the gifts that Jesus gives us, the gifts of hope, peace, joy, love and salvation, but what if this advent season we focused on gifts we could give Jesus. And so continuing the thought from last week, did you come up with a list of things you could give Jesus this year?
As I was thinking about it this week, I began to wonder, what gift do you give to the person who already has everything. I thought; kind of cheesy to give Jesus some cash, although donations to worthy ministries can certainly be a way to advance the kingdom. Maybe I could get him a gift card to Home Depot—maybe he could use it to purchase some things to finish my mansion in heaven.
As I continued thinking about what gift I could give Jesus for his birthday, I remember asking my mom what she wanted for Christmas. And for some reason, I can still picture her saying, “The best gift you could give me is for you kids to get along.” Apparently from her perspective, my three siblings and I didn’t always enjoy sweet fellowship together.
As my thoughts continued, I realized one of the greatest gifts I could give Jesus for his birthday is to do my part in making sure I live at peace with my brothers and sisters. And not only with my brother and sisters by blood, but the best gift I could give Jesus, as far as it depends in me, is to live in harmony with my brothers and sisters in Christ as well.
As Paul wrote in Ephesians 4, 1I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…. 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
As I conclude this article, I remember how God worked through Nelson Mandela to bring unity to his country. My prayer is that God would work through all of us as we await Jesus’ second coming to be peacemakers where there is disunity in our relationships.
Bring the gift of unity and peace, Mike