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Scooch in. Let's listen together...

Here are some Wondering Questions:

  1. I wonder if you have ever said yes to something that was not easy? I wonder how it would feel to trust God, and a messenger, without knowing for sure what would happen?
  2. I wonder if an Angel came to visit you with a message from God, how would you recognize them?  What would they look like? Did you notice in the picture that Gabriel was wearing work boots?
  3. I wonder what gift you would bring Baby Jesus? Something precious that only you can offer?

We hear the Christmas story, every year. We see the Nativity sets and pictures of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus in so many places, it can be easy to forget the mystery. To Enter in. What it must have felt like to be there that night, to see the face of Baby Jesus, knowing that it meant God was with us, that God became human to understand us. That our frail flesh and experiences of this world, meant so much to God that God wanted to know what it felt like. What it meant, to really be human. In the hymn "In the Bleak Midwinter" the last verse says: 

What can I give him?
Poor as I am
If I were a shepherd
I would give a lamb
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
But what can I give him
Give him my heart

Gifts can take over a lot of what we know of Christmas, and though gifts are special and can make us feel loved, we heard in the first week that we can want to give so much, and ask for so much, but it doesn't always happen the way we expect. Last week we heard about the beauty and love that can be crafted into practical gifts, and that a practical gift doesn't always get as appreciated as it should. Do you know the meanings of the gifts from the Magi? Gold for a king, Frankincense is a holy gift you use to make an offering to God, we use it in church when we burn incense in the Thurible, the swinging smoking orb we use on special days - remember in ancient times, baths and deodorant weren't as frequently used, so incense has a practical element, to not only make a place holy in its meaning but smell and feel holy and different by covering up whatever else was going on. Lastly the gift of Myrrh, which was a form of crystalized gum that was used in perfume, incense and most often used to anoint those who have passed away. These are very grand and meaningful gifts. Sometimes we get gifts that we don't understand at the time, that have some meaning but we can't imagine what it is, I am willing to bet Mary was rather perplexed at receiving the latter gifts, I wonder if she knew that her life with Jesus would have both joy and sorrow. 

So. what is your gift? What is one thing that you know you know you can do, and that no one else can? It's hard to know what it means in reality to give your heart to Baby Jesus, as we heard in the Carol. How I interpret it is this, what it means to care for and love God, and the world, is the same love and care that we are called to show each other. So what might it look like to give our heart? Jesus said “Whatever you did for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40). When we show kindness to everyone, and I mean everyone, not just the people you like, but the people you don't like and people you don't even know, you are saying that you care for them. That in turn shows God that we are taking God's message seriously and that we are trying to make the world a better place by being kind, to everyone. That is our gift, and it's okay for it to come in unexpected ways, it's okay for it to be in practical ways, it's okay to be in other ways, but doing all things, as much as we can, with kindness, will change to the world. Bringing the Kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of God, into the here and now.

Let our kindness be the light, that brings people hope, even where there seems to be none. Our kindness will shine the way, that God's love is meant for all.

Vivas, Julie, The Nativity. (Voyager Books, Harcourt Inc, Toronto, Canada). 1986.