You know that this year has been different for us. In many ways, much harder. And I know you have seen the last month. You have seen how rather than doing many of our normal things-really beautiful, wonderful things that cause our hearts to slow down and really focus on You....well, instead we have had lots of appointments with the oncologist, the pediatrician, the endodontist, the periodontist, and even the emergency room.
You know the things You have been teaching my mostly selfish heart about gifts....about how we don't get to choose them, just receive them. Sometimes what you give isn't what I want.
You see me....crying in the midst of a flight just praying that I can calm Elijah down, or that my back won't feel like it will give out any second, or that Elijah wouldn't be up all night crying before a day full of travel. You see me wish for help in those moments...and you see the hurt when I feel like you're not there.
And then you give something else. Something unexpected. And I have to learn that I don't get to choose the gifts, but I do get to choose to see them. I do get to be thankful.
You give new friends in a big city, or kind people to answer my call to the insurance company. You give Christmas parties and gifts for my children.
Sometimes I feel like the Little Drummer Boy, longing to give you everything but feeling like I have nothing worthy to give. You saw that too. And that's why you spent this month reminding me:
YOU are THE GIVER.
It is WHO you are.
You are the pursuer, and your love never stops looking for me. I can NEVER, ever out-give you.
So tonight, as I felt the weight in my heart because we couldn't make it to church with little ones just getting over sickness...
I thought about how I was depriving my kids of one of our favorite traditions where we stop and gaze upon Your goodness...
And I found myself in awe of You anyway. You moved the hearts of my children to write a play, a poem, a drama. They reenacted the beautiful story of the Christ child's birth, they displayed the true meaning of Christmas, they even sang songs of worship and adoration. It was their gift to me.
It was YOUR gift to me.
You are the giver.
I can't out-give you.
So tonight, as we close our eyes and prepare to awake with the early hours and the overflowing excitement of many little people...
I bow my head before you, my King. The gifts are fun and exciting and even sometimes...magical. But they are just means to the great end...the Giver. Thank you for the gifts--even the ones I didn't want, and the ones I didn't get. Thank you for being a King who knows the hearts of His people. Thank you for being worthy of worship, adoration and service.
This Christmas, you have reminded me how much I need a Savior. You have reminded me that even on my very best day....I need someone to see me, to know me, and to love me. I'm Mary, and there's no room for me....and yet as the Giver you come and tell me that Christ will make His home in me. Jesus said He would go and prepare a place for me. I am so underserving of all of this....but I want it, I need it desperately. I need beauty and hope and joy in a world that can only offer brokenness and finality. I need to be reminded that there is more to this life than what I can see.
I need to be reminded that even in the midst of sadness, or sorrow, or longing for a world where things are "right"... You are there. You see me. You still have plans for me--and they are still plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans for my hope and my future. I need You. I need a King that has a True and Lasting Kingdom. I need You, the One who was, and is, and is to come. I need You to keep coming, to keep chasing, to keep being Emmanuel, God with us.
Thank you for reminding me that You are the Giver. Thank you for sending Jesus, Emmanuel, to be with us. Thank you that in the midst of this crazy life, you're still giving. Thank you for staggering me tonight with Your work in the hearts of my children. It could only come from You.
It is my honor to serve you, and to love you.