Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gift of Joy

After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over {the place} where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:9-11

A friend of mine wrote a blog recently about the Three Wise Women. Check it out here: http://stm-jehwriter.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html. It got me to thinking. Especially as we approach 2009.

If I was to bring a gift to the baby shower for Jesus, what would I bring? The practical side of me would say diapers and wipes...or onesies and blankets. The materialistic side of me would say savings bonds, shares in Toys R Us or an heirloom sippy cup. But her blog spoke to the deeper side of me, the spiritual side.

2008 brought a lot of changes to our family. My son is away from us for a while--he made some bad choices and we had to relinquish our legal control over him to the State. My job ended with JDSU, I contracted some work with them for a year and now it's over again. My daughter-in-law fought a mysterious illness that took a year for the doctors to figure out. Now we know what she's fighting and can focus on a healthier lifestyle. My mom's illness progressed quickly. She will receive a wonderful gift of marrow from her sister in the new year.

With all that 2008 slung at our family, what is left to give to Jesus in 2009?

In our tight-knit Bible study group, we decided to give out of our abundance to each other at our next meeting. We thought a gift exchange of dollar store items would be silly-that nobody needed another coffee cup. But to give out of our abundance--what we already have--might be just the thing.

So as I think about what I have in abundance after slogging through 2008, I am astonished to find an abundance of Joy. It's not the same as happiness...being happy is dependent on what happens to you. Joy goes deeper, like roots that sustain an oak tree.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

Joy because I know where my son is and that he is cared for and safe. Joy because I have some down time to pray, think and write. Joy because my daughter-in-law is able to care for her family again. Joy because I had another year with my mom.

That shining star the magi followed to find Jesus is still shining today for those who wish to see it. It is Joy, and it is with every Christian who shakes off what the world tries to bury them with.
So my gift to my Savior in 2009 will be JOY. (Accountability partners take note!)

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

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