Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.
In the ancient world gold, frankincense and myrrh were standard gifts presented to a king or deity.
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold and frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
What in the world would a baby want with gold, frankincense, and myrrh? Can’t play with it. Can’t eat it. Can’t cuddle up to it like a fuzzy, teddy bear. Don’t you think that Joseph and Mary would have really appreciated several packages of diapers or a year’s supply of baby powder?
Of course I am being facetious. Those gifts which the writers of Matthew and Luke wrote into their narrative of the birth of Jesus were symbolically appropriate for the birth of their Jewish king and historically acceptable gifts to present to kings – gold for royalty, frankincense (an ancient remedy for arthritis), for health, and myrrh (a spice used to prepare the body for burial), for the finality of the tomb.
Gift-giving is a reciprocal behavior. I give to you. You give to me. It’s no different in a person’s faith walk or his/her recovery program. 1 Corinthians, chapter 12 details the gifts of the Spirit. Pages 83-84 of THE BIG BOOK of Alcoholics Anonymous proclaim to us the ‘promises’ of sobriety. These are gifts which will be realized when our lives are directed by a Higher Power rather than the whims of self. Surrender is the only requirement to receiving these gifts.
OK, so I’m a grateful receiver. But, what do I give in return? What are my gifts for you and for God? I cannot buy gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts. I can barely afford a greeting card. But, would you be satisfied with my time, my understanding, my patience, my unconditional love?
I am preparing to celebrate the baby Jesus. I can’t wrap my presents in pretty paper and a bright bow, but I am hoping He will smile and accept me just as I am.
I come broken to be mended,
I come wounded to be healed.
I come desperate to be rescued,
I come empty to be filled.
You’re invited. Why don’t you come?