I got some really neat Christmas gifts this year, and what a variety! I was happy to receive a wooden tray table so I can sit in my favorite chair and eat dinner as I watch the evening news. I was glad to get other practical gifts, too, like the Mary Englebreit calendar, a FitBit, and a new cookie press. And on the more whimsical side, there were sparkly hoop earrings, and a beautiful white orchid plant.
Rev. Faye Neff writes, “Your Christmas gifts are probably just as diverse and eclectic. After all, a good gift is not just something grabbed off a shelf: it’s a unique expression of the giver. I suppose that’s why the wise men bring different gifts to Jesus. One gives gold, because even the Messiah has to get by in the world. Another brings frankincense, because he loves to watch the sweet smoke rise during prayer. Being a practical wise man, the third gives myrrh, which can be used many ways—to freshen clothing, to anoint tired feet, to perfume the sheets, even to prepare a body for burial.
They bring different gifts because the wise men are different people. And since the gifts come from the heart, they fit the baby so well. Gold for King Jesus, the rightful ruler of Israel. Frankincense for Christ, the high priest, And myrrh, an embalming spice for the Savior who dies for the sins of the world.”
The story of the wise men and their well-chosen gifts is an annual invitation for you and me to do likewise—to look into the treasure trove of our lives and to bring out those gifts that will serve Christ well. You are God’s gift to the world and to Christ Congregational Church, and every gift is needed for the building up of this church, the serving of our community, the praising of our God.
As I reflect on this Christmas just past, I remember how delighted my children and friends were as I opened gifts chosen with care and given with love. There is always joy when we give from the heart, especially when we give to God. And so I invite you to share your special God-given gifts in 2019!
A blessed New Year to each of you!
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ