The Gift of gifts


glowing gift 1 John 5:11 verse

Merry Christmas!

Late last night, I thought about our family’s tradition of reading the Scriptures and praying before doing anything on Christmas. My paternal grandfather used to read, and we’d sit around to listen. I’d play hymns on the piano while we sang. Afterwards, we’d open gifts. For me, most of the excitement sat in watching the expressions of people as they received and opened their gifts and the expressions of the givers. Sometimes, the recipient was confused or didn’t understand the purpose for the gift (or what it was). Sometimes, they appreciated it immediately. Sometimes, we didn’t know how much thought and care went into choosing a gift, and the value might not be fully appreciated immediately. When I watched the givers’ faces, it was a “hold your breath now” moment. Would the recipient like it? Sometimes, it would be a look of pride and satisfaction because they knew the receiver would scream with excitement.

Our family was too polite to give some of the responses I’ve heard and seen from others. We’d usually appreciate whatever was given, try to understand why it was given, and look for a way to use it. The idea that someone would throw a gift back at someone or complain because it wasn’t big enough, flashy enough, or what they expected was foreign to me.

Over the last week, I’ve thought about my family’s tradition. I’ve added trivia questions with our readings because I want my children to understand what’s being read and what happened vs. creative license in movies or traditional beliefs passed down through the years. I like to explore the “whys” of events to learn more about what made them serious, life-threatening, significant, or even comical. For example, why were the wise men the only ones to pay attention to the star that appeared when Christ was born if it’s as bright as it’s shown on TV? It was there for about two years since that’s the time the men arrived in Bethlehem. That leads me to thoughts of them watching and waiting since the time of Daniel. I think about the trek they planned to take, the preparation to visit, the boldness to go into a ruthless king’s territory to tell him they didn’t come for him but to honor and worship another King, the value and significance of the three gifts, and the sensitivity to hear the Lord’s warning to save their lives on the exit. These were Gentiles. They are me. The gift of Christ has been extended to us.

And I wonder what God’s expression was like the first time Christ was presented to me. I wonder about His emotions when Christ and the Gospel are presented to us. Christ is the supreme Gift. When will we ever truly understand the magnitude of God’s love and the value of what has been offered?

As I looked around this year, I thought about Christmas and Easter. It’s easy to remember the reason Jesus Christ came to earth during Resurrection holiday. I’ve only seen one pageant that continued past the birth to remind us of the purpose of Christ being sent to live among us. I suppose that the amount of time that would be required to cover that much material is a large task. And I do appreciate the reminders that help me imagine what life was like (ex. Bethlehem Walk), especially now that I’m a mother and can understand the emotions that come around annually on birthdays. Still, I wanted to share something that leaves us with more than thoughts of “cute little baby Jesus” because He’s not an infant anymore. He’s our Lord and Savior.

This song came to mind. This is one of my favorite arrangements and performances.  I hope you enjoy! (As an added study, you can write out the words and put the corresponding verses next to them as reminders and future topical lessons.)

 Grace Church Nashville Performance

 “Mary, Did You Know?” lyrics

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you’ve kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know? Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is Heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.


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