One of the local nursing homes has a Christmas tree in its lobby. I understand that there were some tags hanging on that tree, each one listing the name of a resident along with one gift that person would like to receive. Family, friends, or other visitors could pick one of those names and bring that gift for the appropriate person.
It's a nice idea that reminds us not to forget some folks who are too often overlooked as we busy ourselves with all our other Christmas activities and gatherings.
If Jesus' name was on such a tree, I wonder what gift He would want? I don't see Jesus asking for some of the gifts we might request -- an item of clothing, some cologne, or the latest electronic gadget. I know it involves some degree of speculation on our part, but based on what the Bible says, I believe there are three main gifts Jesus would want from us.
One would be our worship. The wise men brought Jesus those well-known gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I guess frankincense is almost like a gift of cologne. Could it have been Old Spice frankincense? Or maybe it was so many years ago that it was actually New Spice at the time.
At any rate, I don't think the Lord was as pleased with those gifts as He was with the other gift those kings gave Him -- they worshiped Him. That gift still pleases the Lord when we offer it to Him. He wants us to recognize Him for who He is and give Him the adoration of which He is worthy.
Have you ever worshiped a baby or small child as those wise men did? Maybe we haven't literally bowed down to one, but the way we look at some of our precious children or grandchildren can sometimes approach an attitude of worship. That baby in Bethlehem deserves such praise. He was the Son of God who had come in the flesh to be our Savior. He wants our gift of worship and is worthy to receive it.
A second main gift I believe Jesus would want is our trust or faith in Him. Jesus didn't come into the world just so people would bow down before Him.
He was born so that we might believe in Him and be restored into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. Jesus knows how important it is for us to do that.
Jesus doesn't want us to face God's wrath one day, but rather desires for us to go to heaven to be with Him.
So the best gift we could give Him would be to put our trust in Him and as a result allow Him to give us the best gift we could ever receive -- that gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
But I can think of one other main gift I believe Jesus would want -- the gift of ourselves.
One of the families in our church is receiving a special gift this Christmas. Their son who is serving in the navy and whom they haven't seen in quite a while is home for Christmas. Although he may have brought his family members some other presents, the main gift he brought them was himself.
That's the main gift Jesus wants from us. Nothing would please Him more than for each of us to come to Him in the spirit of a familiar hymn that says "Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee."
So as we give and receive our various other gifts over these next few days, let's not overlook what Jesus truly wants from us. Let's seek to give Him those gifts of our worship, our trust, and ourselves.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.