What God Wants from Us This Christmas

December 19, 2014 | advent, Christmas | 7 comments

Dear God,

It’s me again. And I’m wondering, “What do I give this Christmas to that special someone in my life who has everything?”

I mean You, of course. You’re that special someone.

What’s on Your Christmas List this year?  

Do you want for anything? You, the God of everything?

If You don’t already have it, You could snap your fingers to get it. You simply say it, and it’s Yours. You speak; stars form. You are the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. You hung the moon.You sculpted Everest. You carved a space for the Yangtze and the Danube. You capped the poles in white. You invented dimples and belly buttons.  You situated us perfectly from the sun. The whole earth is your footstool, and You wrap Yourself in light.

 I stand here before You, peering over the edge of a manger, asking: What gift can a girl like me bring to a King like You?

DSC_0358

nativity

I remember feeling this same way as a little girl, when it came time to find a present for my Dad just days before Christmas. You remember that mad scramble, don’t You, God?

DSC_1528My brother and I didn’t have any money of our own, of course, so we searched the house in a panic, to find anything to put under the tree. Often, we would actually steal stuff that Dad already owned. We’d excavate a decent pair of socks from the back of his dresser drawer, or some old necktie from the rear of the closet. Then, we’d wrap it, as if it were new.

Come Christmas Eve, Dad always seemed utterly delighted with what we’d given.

One year, just in time, we found one of Dad’s fine-toothed combs under the bathroom sink upstairs. We wrapped up the comb in the comics section of the newspaper, and tucked it on the back side of the Christmas tree. For the next several days, Dad went looking for his comb.

He had no idea it would be waiting for him under the tree on Christmas Eve.

***

I feel that way with you, God, like all I’ve got are some used-up, second-hand things to offer. But really, it’s worse than that.

My stuff is more pathetic than second-hand junk from under the sink. It’s practically useless.

Sure, I know that someone would say I could give you “my heart.” That just feels so … cliche.

I mean, you know the shape of my heart, wretched and ruined and two-faced as it is. I’m Peter, and I would have turned on you as soon as the crowds started asking. I’m so ashamed to say it. But we’re being honest here. So there You have it.

Give You that heart for Christmas? What kind of gift is that? This heart, that is determined to have its own way? This heart, that turns away from You again and again?

You want that old ragged thing?

That’s hard to believe, God.

So I hang my head here, chin pinned to my chest, thinking of other things I might give: maybe a stricter adherence to the rules. If I just tried harder? Wouldn’t that make You happy? I know folks who’ve tried that.

But all of those Bible pages rustle with a different message.

Scripture whisper the scandalous rumor that you want these ragged, rule-breaking hearts anyway, these hearts that have spurned You. There’s a word for it: grace.

Honestly? It feels wrong. And outrageous. It feels like I’m just giving You a used, narrow-toothed comb, wrapped in newsprint, stuck under the cheesy multi-colored glow of an artificial tree in the living room.

DSC_0314

You’ve stuck with me all these years, God. It slays me, how You take me. How You get some sort of pleasure out of me.

My.

How I’ve turned against You again and again, forgetful and unrepentant, and twisted in my thinking. I judge. Don’t forgive like I should. Demand my own way. Stomp my feet. Raise fists. Get really bossy with You. Doubt. Man, have I doubted You. And there’s other stuff that the two of us know. It’s just wrong.

What do You want with a girl like me? I’m no gift. I’m the cardboard box, destined for the trash heap after the Christmas party is over.

Why in this great world do You want me? Pick a star instead. Or maybe the moon. Pick a mud puddle. You’d be happier. Wouldn’t You?

Why would a woman like me ever make Your Christmas list? But I can hear You, just now, saying it into my heart. I hear You telling me that it’s really true: You want all of me for Christmas.

So I’m trusting that. I come to You, a beggar at your door, dizzy over the absurdity of it. And I’ve got my gift for You in my hands.

I scrounged around, Lord, to find the perfect thing to give You this Christmas. But this here is the only thing I could find. I hope it’s okay with You, Lord, but  it’s the same thing You get from me every single year – my sin.

I give it to You. That’s all I’ve got. It’s all I’ve ever had. And it ain’t even wrapped pretty.

And You take it. Like you wanted it all along.

And you trade it for beauty, in the form of a babe.

manger

baby jesus

I remember that night years ago, when I was a child, sitting on my Dad’s knee, and he peeled back the newsprint to find that dumb old comb. It was the comb he’d always wanted.

And I still believe it all these years later, it’s the gift he wanted most.

by | December 19, 2014 | advent, Christmas | 7 comments

7 Comments

  1. joni

    Wow food for thought

    Reply
  2. Diane Bailey

    A dad does that. He takes the old combs and dirty rocks from the yard and declares them the most beautiful present ever! Love reading your memories and prayer to our father.

    Reply
  3. marthaorlando

    When it comes right down to it, it is all we have to give to our Father. That He wants it? That’s the miracle you’ve most eloquently described here, Jennifer. Thank you for another beautiful reminder of how much God loves us.
    Blessings!

    Reply
  4. Nancy Ruegg

    The description you wrote about yourself, Jennifer, fits me, too: turning away from God again and again, forgetful, unrepentant, twisted in my thinking, etc. And with you I ask: What would God want with a woman like me? And then the silliest image popped into my head. I see a scavenger looking for salvageable materials. I see the excitement on his face when he rescues a piece of junk that he knows will transform into something beautiful after a little cleaning, polishing, painting, etc. That image reminds me of what God does with the junk of my life when I allow him to clean away the sin and selfishness, polish up the fruit of the Spirit, and add the gilt of his Son to be reflected through me. Junk becomes transformed into beauty–the beauty of the Lord.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. » What God Wants from Us This Christmas - […] Dear God, It’s me again. And I’m wondering, “What do I give this Christmas to that special someone in…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest