December 20, 2016
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger … ” Luke 2:7a (NASB)
I stared at my son. Did he really mean it? Does he know what he’s doing?
Moments before, I grabbed a box and sat our little army in a row with the charge, “Time to clean out the toy box.”
They know the drill. It’s a Christmas tradition aimed at clearing out clutter before we add more. And I can usually guess what stays and what goes.
The toys at the top of the box are the ones the kids use often. Those stay. The toys at the bottom of the box are the forgotten, broken or replaced toys the kids are willing to part with.
But this particular year, I was in for a surprise.
My rough and tough 4-year old, Micah, sat on the rug with his little legs crossed. One of the first toys out of the box was his beloved toy, “Dad the Moose” — Micah had named him. Micah loves his Daddy and loves his moose, so it seemed appropriate.
Dad the Moose often slept tucked under Micah's arm. Dad the Moose traveled wherever we went. Dad the Moose was Micah's buddy, maybe even his best buddy. So when I pulled him from the box and said, "Give or keep," I already knew the answer.
"Keep!" Micah yelped and squeezed Dad the Moose close. We continued on with several more “keeps” until without warning, Micah interrupted.
"Wait," he said urgently. "I want to give Dad the Moose.” And he tossed him into the box.
I stared at Micah. Did he really mean it? He'll miss that moose! After a few minutes, Micah changed his mind and dug the moose out of the box of giveaways, but moments later he dropped it back inside.
Three times this happened. Moose in. Moose out. Moose in. Moose out.
I watched my little boy struggle. Something inside him said give. But something inside ached. Dad the Moose belonged to Micah. Micah chose him. He named him, and he loved him.
Then, once and for all, Micah did it, "Mom, someone else can have Dad the Moose.”
Elijah, our resident stuffed-animal collector warned, "Micah, another boy or girl may not call him Dad.”
Fearful of Micah's heart breaking further, I jumped in ... "But that's okay. Because when we give, we also trust that whoever gets our gift will love it as much as we did.”
All of a sudden our box seemed unfit to hold this treasure. It meant too much. It didn't belong there. How could this gift be dropped into an old, torn, dirty box?
God loved the world so much, He gave his Son. The Son He chose. He named. He loved. God knew some would not call Him by His Name. Some would not call Him Savior. King. Emmanuel. Yet because He loved us, God still gave.
But He means too much! He doesn't belong here! How could the gift of God’s own Son, Jesus, be laid in a forgotten, dirty manger?
But He was, “ … and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). And the story doesn’t end there.
Scripture reveals the greatest love story ever told, as God gave His only Son not just to live, but also to die and be raised to life, defeating death once and for all and paving the way for us to share in a glorious, unimaginable eternal life in fellowship with God.
It’s this gift — the greatest gift ever conceived — that prompts us to do more than scour countless stores at Christmastime in search of the perfect gift. Instead, the greatest gift compels us to offer our lives back to God as His gift of love spills over.
I watched a similar thing unfold in front of my toy box.
"Okay, Mom, I'll give Louie.” There Elijah stood with his stuffed owl. Just a few days before, he’d paced all over the store considering every option before he picked Louie. He chose him. He named him. He loved him.
"I'll give away Pythor too, Mom." Here came our eldest boy, Jonah, with his prize stuffed python. His scales were blue, Jonah's favorite color. Jonah chose him. He named him. He loved him.
Watching their little brother give up something so precious compelled two bigger boys to part with something special to them, too.
Today let’s pause not just to remember, but to rejoice in the Love that left Heaven many years ago for you and me. And as we unwrap this gift, let’s find a way to share it with someone.
Dear God, may the truth of Your gift grace my heart in a new way today. And may Your greatest gift of love spill out of my life into the world around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
Today, you have the opportunity to help us share the greatest gift of God’s love with people all over the world. No gift is insignificant when it’s in accordance with God’s assignment. Donate here.
Join Katy McCown on her blog today for some practical ways to keep your focus on Jesus, the true reason for this Christmas season.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
The word “rejoice” means “to feel or show great joy or delight.” What’s one thing you can do today to rejoice in God’s gift of love to you through Jesus?
© 2016 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.