What Jesus Wants from You at Christmas – #TellHisStory

December 7, 2015 | advent, Christmas, grace | 30 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?

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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?

My 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 gone that route.

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.

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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.

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 what I’ve got. 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.

I give you my sin and my tear-stained heart. You give me love. That is one crazy trade, how you give us your unfailing, unbending unwavering love, in exchange for our sin.

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 was waiting for me to give him, all along.

GodsGift

 

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Becky. I truly enjoyed her words about baking, soaking, and waiting through the hard times. Find Becky here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer

 


by | December 7, 2015 | advent, Christmas, grace | 30 comments

30 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Thanks for the shout out Jennifer! Love connecting with great writers!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      My pleasure, dear. Merry Christmas! Happy Advent-ing! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Karrilee Aggett

    Love this so so much! In fact yesterday during worship… well – I’ll send ya a fb message – but let’s just say – He really means this… this is what He really really wants! Love you bunches, my friend!

    Reply
  3. Pat Calhoun

    So very thankful for grace! I would BE the miry clay without His grace! Beautifully written and just wondered how you knew all that stuff about ME!??!?! SONshine to you and yours <3

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Pat! Be blessed this day.

      Reply
  4. Nancy Ruegg

    You’ve captured beautifully the wonder of God’s love, Jennifer. To think he WANTS our sin so he can remove it as far as the east is from the west. He WANTS our tear-stained, guilt-ridden hearts so he can wash them as white as snow and make room for his joy and peace and hope. He is beyond wonderful!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I am thinking of the song, right now, … the old hymn, “O Happy Fault, which earned for us so Great a Redeemer.”

      Reply
      • Nancy Ruegg

        I don’t know that one. I’ll have to look it up!

        Reply
  5. Veronica

    Hi Jennifer, reading your post today reminded me of Christina Rossetti’s poem that what He desires most is our heart. So true, it does seem like a crappy trade given His “unfailing, unbending, unwavering love.” But praise that He takes it joyfully. Wishing you a Joy-filled Advent. Xox

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you so much, Veronica. By chance, are you the sweet soul from Kentucky who mailed me something recently?

      Reply
  6. Paula Gamble

    Wow! This post is AWESOME! I relate! It truly is amazing grace that God wants ALL of us! That is beauty for ashes, no joke!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Amen, sis. Hope all is well in your busy world! Are you getting any rest? 🙂

      Reply
      • Paula Gamble

        Most nights I do, and I take naps to make up for lost sleep. 😊. I have the best snuggle bug ever! I’m feeling good though and I’ve been swimming a lot. I’ve done a little Crossfit too, starting out light. That makes me happy! 😉

        Reply
  7. Trudy Den Hoed

    My eyes are watering as I read this, Jennifer. I found myself aching and sighing along with you. What pure grace it is that we would be on God’s list, even though all we can bring to Him is sin. You have truly captured what amazing, unconditional love He has for us. Thank you for sharing this hope-filled truth.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      So grateful for God’s immeasurable grace and love, all year long, but it comes into such clear focus this time of year. Thanks for stopping by, Trudy.

      Reply
  8. Mary

    Such beauty in knowing that all God wants this Christmas is all of us. We feel we are the most undeserving and He looks at us with more love than we know. Your words really struck a place deep in my heart. I have no idea how much I am loved but God does!

    Reply
  9. Joy Lenton

    Jennifer, you capture so beautifully the ache of every heart and the wonder of being forgiven and loved by Father God. This brings tears, nods of recognition and deep gratitude for such amazing grace. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Brenda

    Awe, so pretty. He’s so gracious…giving us all of Himself in exchange for all of ourselves. It doesn’t seem like an even trade, does it? Thanks for sharing. 🙂 ((Merry Christmas))

    Reply
  11. JosephPote

    “I give you my sin and my tear-stained heart. You give me love.”

    Yes! That’s My God! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, so beautifully. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  12. Anita

    Aww. This is beautiful, my friend. I come up short all too often (ok, all the time). I’m so glad he truly wants what I have to give. (I’ve also tried my hand at following more rules as a gift–not a good rule of thumb for gift-giving to our Savior).

    Reply
  13. Betsy Cruz

    What a glorious, amazing exchange. Our sin for His love and forgiveness. I remember wrapping gifts like that up for my parents too. You’ve drawn such a perfect analogy here. Thank you so much for hosting #TellHisStory and sharing your space here with us.

    Reply
  14. Anna Smit

    Oh Jennifer, these words. Thank you. Thank you for reminding us all of this beautiful, undeserved gift.

    Reply
  15. JViola79

    Such a beautiful reminder of the great exchange that happens in our lives. Very humbling to think about today. Thank you for every word you shared.

    Reply
  16. Patricia Holbrook

    Oh, Jennifer, I simply LOVE your voice. You speak truth in a beautiful way. Thank you! And thanks for allowing us to linkup. May your Christmas be beautiful!

    Reply
  17. Lori Schumaker

    Another wonderful post, Jennifer. Such a tender way of connecting your sweet childhood with our loving Heavenly Father. I am so very thankful He treasures my bedraggled heart!
    Blessing, my friend!
    Lori

    Reply
  18. Dolly @ Soulstops.com

    So very beautiful…felt like a gift as I read your words…Thank you 🙂 And what a gracious and loving dad (your dad)was/is…and of course, our heavenly Father.

    Reply
  19. Elizabeth Stewart

    I remember having a quarter to buy something for Daddy for Christmas and buying him a plastic boat that I wanted. Your story reminded me of this, and also of God’s wholehearted love for me and desire for my wholehearted love in return.

    Reply
  20. Doug Spurling

    There’s only one who can wake a king in the middle of the night to ask for a glass of water…his child. You are that child of The King

    Reply

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