I stood at the counter counting out my change. One penny short! I dug into my purse again hoping to find just one more coin. Nothing.
"Don't worry. I'll give you a penny," the young cashier cheerily offered. She turned to the employee next to her.
"Watch my register. I need to go get my purse. I'll be right back."
"Oh you don't need to do that," I called after her, but she had already disappeared into a back room. I can't believe someone would go to that much trouble - out of her own money. How kind is that!
And then I thought about what my daughter had said to me a few hours before.
She had stopped by after church and in the course of our conversation I asked her what the sermon was all about.
"'What are we giving Jesus for Christmas?'" she responded.
Hmmm. That had not crossed my mind. I had attempted (and failed once again) to do all my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving so as to avoid the holiday rush. I try to avoid malls at all costs during December. I want the days before Christmas to be peaceful, unhurried and devoid of commercial clutter. But I had not thought of what I would give Jesus for Christmas. What a great sermon topic.
After she left I found a quiet spot and hunkered down with the Lord. "What do You want for Christmas?" I asked. My daughter had plans to give jackets and other gifts to the homeless with a group from her church. Did the Lord want me to volunteer, too? No....I did not get a confirmation on that.
"So what would You like?" I asked again. Then I remembered. BJ (our Maltese dog) and I would be visiting the elderly at a nearby nursing home, bringing them dog-bone shaped Christmas cookies that I made. That was it. But the question still haunted me. Was that enough?
Now I know that we do not have to earn God's love. But I was raised to be a doer and often have to fight the inner accusation that whatever I am doing is not good enough. So I sat a while longer seeking God's heart. What were the non-tangible ways to bless the Lord?
"Whatever you do to the least of these, you have done to Me" (Matthew 25:40) floated into my mind. Whether it is forgiving someone who hurt us, or holding a door open for the next person, or not focusing on ourselves but others - these are gifts to Jesus.
I realize this post is almost bumping into Christmas day, but here are some thoughts about gifts for Jesus (regardless of what day it is):
- an encouraging word to one who is discouraged
- an offer to get together with someone who is grieving
- patience with a family member or friend who tends to rub us the wrong way
- and a heart of gratitude that Jesus came into this dark world to show us God's love and to give us eternal life simply for believing and accepting His gift.