Friday, January 7, 2011


Wow. Talk about getting birthday presents from your rich uncle. Three Kings show up who hadn't even been included in the Evite. Gold. Frankincense. Myrrh. Can you imagine the discussion between Joseph and Mary as they were still peeking through the window to see who was knocking?

"Camels. They have camels."
"We can't feed all of those camels."
"Has to be the wrong house. Is that tall one wearing a crown?"
"He is. And the little one in back, the one having trouble dismounting. Wait! There's a third, just come round the cistern."
"Kings? Three kings?"
"Cleopus and his Mary are out talking to them now. I hope he doesn't anger them."
"Here. Hold the baby."
"Why? What are you going to do?"
"We have to offer them something. Give the baby to Cleopus and go and draw some water."
"OK. But we're not going to feed the camels. They're knocking again."
"Hurry now. You know, angels came to see him. Why not kings?"
"The angels didn't show up with hungry camels. Look - now they're into the figs!"

As humble as He arrived, and as humble as He lived, the world just couldn't help but take notice. The homage of the foreign kings, and later the palm strewn cheers of the fickle multitude. Alleluia. Hosanna. Come Lord Jesus. Come indeed. Receive the shabbily rewrapped return of Your own merit as gift from us.

This Advent, my two older children came to my wife and I asking what work they could do around the house. They wanted to earn money so that they could buy us Christmas presents. (The youngest is a November baby, and proudly invests her surplus birthday money.) When they were younger, they would just take items from around the house and wrap them. The truth is, the gift is always the act of letting them be the giver.

That's how it is with God. Everything we offer Him, every sacrifice or talent we place before Him, already belongs to Him. He humors us, encourages us to mimic His act of giving, to be the givers, so that we can approach Him, stand right beside those travelling kings from afar, and lay down our gifts. We repurpose the blessings He has given us and set them back before Him. Bright shiny possesions that we were allowed to take as our own just so that we could give them back. A skipped meal or the Sistine Chapel, they are all simply lumpy clay nic nacs with our names scratched into the belly. None should boast or be ashamed. All should give. Like the boy whose small offering of bread and fish fed a multitude. He might of thought afterwords, "Wow. Did I do that?" No. But God does it with us. In us, through us. Let's us play a part.

So, let us go then. Travel afar or near. Bearing gifts. Write a song. Call a friend. Visit a shut in. Feed the hungry. Paint a chapel. Or maybe sit down and pound out a really cool drum beat, and offer that to God. Parum pa pum pum.

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