Gifts stress me out. Whether I am recieving them, or giving them.
I worry about whether they are good enough, whether I said thank you enough, and then, don't get me started about re-gifting!
I am sure the first Christmas stressed the Holy family out as well.
They had no where to stay, poor medical care, they were having family drama, and the community was all stirred at the time with political strife.
It sounds like much of what we deal with today in our own homes.
Then, as if out of nowhere, the Magi arrive with Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold. Not such practical gifts for infants really.
They were gifts presented to royalty in the day. Perfume or incense, medicine for health, and gold for fortune.
Frankincense represented deity, Gold represented royalty, and myrrh was inscense often used when someone died.
These were NOT likely what Mary thought she needed at the time to get off to a good start with their newly arrived baby boy.
She had to be stressed about graciously accepting these gifts.
In my quiet time this Christmas, I keep thinking about the Gold. Not because I am a material girl, but because I am a practical one.
It had to give their family a sense of security-more than they had before anyway. Even though things were scary at the time, it had to make them feel like their future was good, that God was with them, and that they were doing the right thing.
So this Christmas, my focus on the Gold has brought me to this. That we cannot always give and receive gifts perfectly, but we can do the right thing.
We can be gifts ourselves as Good as Gold and a remind others that they are important. That they are not alone. And that they have potential.
Here are some things that have been brought to my attention that we can give, and receive without stressing because they are all good:
1. Being present - paying attention. Not just sending money or gifts. Giving our time and attention.
2. Giving Hugs - showing much needed affection to those around us who may just need it.
3. Provide Peace - leave a wake of love in all of our conversations and encounters. Be patient, and considerate.
4. Share a meal with a friend or someone who needs that kind of help. Maybe even volunteer to feed a needy family with your children.
5. Create love - look for a window to share a kind word, a hopeful perspective. Decide to forgive and show mercy, grace, or understanding.
6. Be Light - share laughter, energy, care, and helpfulness.
By doing all these things while we are amid the holiday traditions and rush, I truly believe we are giving gifts that when given, we don't have to stress about. We are giving gifts as good as gold to those in our lives whom God has sent to us.
Just like the Magi did - they acted on faith, and so can we. May your Christmas be FILLED with Golden moments this year!!