Christmas is past. It is a beautiful morning, the house is quiet, and there’s some time to write my thoughts. The predicted winter storm has been averted, and the Lord provided a dusting of white to cleanse the earth. The sky is high and blue. Chickadees keep coming to the empty feeder for sustenance, so I shall have to replenish my supply tomorrow from WalMart.
It’s somewhat sad, yet amazing to me, that we hustle and bustle to make sure everything is ready for the holiday–for children, grandchildren, and friends, and it’s all over and nearly forgotten the very next day. We received some special gifts: pajamas from a daughter and her hubby, along with “lamb” slippers, and homemade butter pecan fudge for Dad. Our other daughter sent a basket from Hillshire Farms of yummy cheeses and mustards. Ron and I bought each other a larger TV, since it would make things easier for him considering his glaucoma. An Amazon gift card, two fancy individual covered casserole dishes, an elegant scarf, and even a re-fillable jug of special tea from another pair of grandkids, and other wonderful gifts came to us from family and friends.
As we sit here however, we wonder what we give to the one whose birthday it is. Does He want or need money? We think not, since everything, as well as the cattle on a thousand hills, are His. What does He want or need?
We are reminded of the words of an old hymn:
What shall I give thee Master–giver of life to me?
Shall I give all or half of my heart?
Or shall I give all to Thee?
Hosea 6:6 tells us that God“desires mercy, not sacrifice.” Hebrews 13:15 counsels: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess His name.”
We love the New Testament text found in Romans 12 that states: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” And here’s my favorite: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
New Year begins thirty-one and a half hours from now as we write. We wonder: have we given ourselves to Jesus for His birthday by offering mercy? Has praise of Him continually been on our lips for His immeasurable goodness? Have I been able to imitate His kindness, love and compassion to others during this passing year? I think not as often as we’d like!
So our New Year’s resolution this year (and yes, we know, most resolutions last 24 hours if we are lucky) is to offer the best of the gifts we can give from our hearts to the Lord: mercy, praise, love, and even our bodies, and we shall count on Him for the strength to keep on giving.