Over this season we have talked a lot about the gifts of the Christ, that of expectancy of hope, of peace, of joy, of love. Those are the gifts that we are given, and today I want to just focus on and think about for the rest of the time are the gifts we come to bring. For like the wise men they came to worship to adore, to bring gifts of value to this baby that they suspected was the potential for salvation was the king that they were looking for.
So, what is it that we bring? We don't bring gold and myrrh and incense. No, we bring things that are probably more valuable than that even, and one of the things that we bring is gratitude. We bring thanks to God to the Christ within. Because of everything that we have been given, we bring thanks.
A second gift we bring is surrender. Psalm 3:5-6 teaches reads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” We stop trying to do it our way; we stop leaning on our own limited worldly understanding and trust in God. We use the knowledge that we gain from the world, but it is not our exclusive reference point. We use that understanding, but we don’t lean on it. We surrender our egos and our wills to Christ as gifts.
We also bring forgiveness, which is a hard gift to bring sometimes. Because it's a burden that many of us carry is unforgiveness that there are people and things that have happened in our lives that are more baggage for us than they are of benefit. I know that Christ is asking for us to bring forgiveness, and that stems from the most powerful gift that we bring.
Both gratitude, surrender, and forgiveness grow from love, and that's the most valuable gift that we can bring to the manger of Christ. To honor the Christ within us is to bring love. Because when we bring love, we change everything. Everything is different, everything is new. And God is love, so when we bring true love, we feel God's pleasure and that pleasure is felt as joy in us. When we give love to God, we're giving love to all of His creation to all people, all animals, all things. We help the needy. We're there for the struggling. We were there for the lost.
Many of us come to church and we enter relationships, we enter a lot of parts of our lives from a feeling of being disconnected or being lost or feeling needy ourselves. Some of us come to church to get something out of church. I propose that God has sent you here to give something in church.
Some of us enter a relationship because we feel like we are incomplete, not whole. I propose that God puts people in our lives to have a relationship with so that we can give to that person and that we can create wholeness.
Love for God means protecting all weak ones: The children, the ill, the elderly, the disadvantaged. Loving God means allowing our self to be loved. Allowing our parents to love us, our children to love us, our neighbors to love us. Christ commands us to love each other. Love each other as I have loved you. Love one another. The gift that the Christ wants us to bring is that love.
Love for God means to share with God from what we have - from our talents, our time, our treasure. To sing for God, to dance for God, to write for God, to work for God, to paint for God, to grow our garden for God, to connect with others for God.
Love for God means to love all, all things, not just people, not just the nice people, not just the people giving the best presents. But loving God means to love ... all. Loving God means to forgive all because we love all. That’s a tough one.
That's my message. My message is to love. What gifts do we bring two Christ? - gratitude, surrender, forgiveness, and love.