Sunday Sheep Ponderings- December 4,2016

Pondering today on the Magi, Wise Men, Kings from the East. 
There is much to ponder on about these men. Where exactly were they from? How many were there? What was their occupation? Why was this journey so important to them that they would give up years of their lives to make it? Why and how did they make it into the story?
What I’m pondering on today is the gifts they brought; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Why these? 
Over the years I have learned from various biblical scholars and historians that these gifts were not only symbolic but practical. Symbolically of Jesus himself—gold representing his kingship, frankincense a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming. Practically these gifts offered financial means to survive and medicinal uses. 
So here is my question…what would you bring? 
These gifts were brought to an earthly king. A flesh and blood man with flesh and blood needs. 
It’s like the question we ask ourselves every Christmas…what do you get for the person who has everything? 
Some would say “service” is the gift they would bring. A kind gift indeed but He doesn’t need it.
Some would say “worship” is the gift they would bring. A beautiful gift indeed but He doesn’t need it. 
Some would say “obedience’ is the gift they would bring. A noble gift indeed but He doesn’t need it.
Some would say “my resources” (time, talent and money). A generous gift indeed but He doesn’t need it. 
It seems as though everything we could offer Him, falls short. He doesn’t need any of it. That is the point!!! That is where I believe He wants us to be…empty handed and FREE. Free of a religious system that teaches us that WE need to give in order to be loved and accepted. Free from the pressure of pleasing Him. Free from the striving to do just the right thing to make Him happy. Free from the treadmill of performance. Free from trying to be the “giver”. 
You’ve heard it said, “you can’t out give God” but do you understand it? Are you constantly trying to please Him, make Him happy, concerned about disappointing Him? OR are you enjoying the gift HE gave? You see this isn’t a gift exchange. He doesn’t give us a gift and then we give one back. It’s ALL Him! He is the giver and you are the recipient, NO STRINGS ATTACHED! His gift does not cost you a thing! It is free! It is a gift that does NOT require but RESTORES. 
So today, ponder on this…are you trying to “give in order to get” with God? Do the conversations in your mind sound like this, “If I do “x”, then God will hopefully do “y”? Do you feel the pressure of, “since God has done so much for me, I should try to give back to Him”? If so, I believe we may have missed the true meaning of Christmas. 
While it is far better to give than receive with your fellow man, my prayer is that on your journey with God, you find the joy and peace of receiving without giving. 
Happy Sunday my friends! 

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