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Thursday, November 6, 2008


We are already beginning to get a bit of Christmas traffic at the book store. We have our Thanksgiving display out and are quite ready to put out the Christmas stuff. We've had calenders for 2009 for several months.

All this getting ready for Christmas reminded me of a conversation I overheard last year between two men. The first announced happily that he had received a $300 bonus from his company. The second man was less enthusiastic. He said, "Well, you want to know what I got? A $25 gift card. Enjoy yours . . . ." Actually, he pretty much slammed whomever gave him that gift card.

There is a big discrepancy in the amount of money received. I will grant that. However, I wonder about the circumstances around the gifts. Does one work for a small company and another a large one? Were the gifts from the company or the individual bosses? What were the thoughts behind the gifts?

I was actually a little taken aback. There was so little gratitude for the gift given to the second man. Clearly he expected more or thought he deserved more.

I like to give gifts but I hope the price tag attached isn't what the people see. I hope they see the heart behind it. I hope I receive gifts being grateful for what has been given rather than looking at what I would rather have had or comparing it to what someone else received.

As we begin to wind ourselves into the holiday season, I thought it would be good to reflect on the three Wise Men (also known as Magi or Kings) that followed a star from far off lands to see the King of the Jews.

In Matthew, they initially stop at King Herod's palace to ask where they can find this new king. It seems realistic that since the star was announcing the the birth of a king that they would find him in a palace. Herod doesn't know of this new king but is suspicious and asks them to find him and return and tell him where to find the new king. But God warns them of returning to Herod.

Tradition often indicates that the Magi show up the night of Jesus birth. But in Matthew, it indicates that they found Jesus in a house rather than a manager.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense of myrrh. -- Matthew 2:11

Either way, manger or house, it was probably an infinitely more humble dwelling than they might have expected for a king! They seemed to initially think that they would find him at the palace.

My take on this is that they didn't find what they expected. They could have turned away, convinced themselves that this was somehow a mistake -- this isn't where you find kings. However, this did not deter them from worshiping Jesus. They were willing to have their expectations adjusted. As a result, they didn't miss out on a unique opportunity.

Which are you like? The Magi or the second man in the story above. When things don't look as you had hoped or anticipated do you reject what is offered or take it gratefully?

I would like to be like the Magi, but I think that I am often like the second man.

Maybe not so much with gifts but more with my circumstances. Things look nothing like I dreamt of as a child or even what I dreamt of a year ago. I need to be reminded that my hope is in a living God who know what is best for me. He gives good gifts to his children -- even when I don't always understand them.

My prayer is that I would be able to fix my eyes on that hope and the good things He has given.

God's Work In Progress,

This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:

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Blogger Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I want to be like the magi as well.
Wow,... I'm so printing this out... and will re-read it throughtout the holiday season... passing it on.
Great insight... that I will not forget!

November 6, 2008 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wonderful, bless you.

November 6, 2008 at 4:29 AM  
Blogger Joanne Sher said...

Excellent and timely insights. I definitely needed this today. Thank you.

November 6, 2008 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

How wise! I have sometimes thought about how differently my life has turned out from what I had dreamed, and have indulged in "what if" and "if only." But perhaps these settings are exactly where I needed to be to find my Lord as I have been finding Him.

Thanks for this!

November 6, 2008 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

Awesome!!! I was just thinking about (and being thankful) for the little gifts!

November 6, 2008 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Great devotion! I want to be like the Magi.

November 6, 2008 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. I am so thankful for finding this. Yes to be like the Magi.


November 6, 2008 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

I'd choose to be a Magi. What a great question!

November 6, 2008 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Promise In My Pocket, God's Word on the Go! said...

What a wonderful story to serve as a reminder as we approach business of the Christmas Season. Maintaining a grateful attitude is key to positioning ourselves not only for God to bless us but, more importantly, for God to be able to use us to bless someone else.

November 6, 2008 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger The Simpson Life said...

Thank you thank you for this reminder! This really touches my heart!!

November 20, 2008 at 4:13 PM  

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