Sunday is the day I share a little of my soul. Enjoy.
I saw my angels walking through lights this week.
Precious gifts to the Christ Child were once brought by kings. It was late after the birth, though it's often told as if it happened the night the angels sang. I like to think of the shepherds because they are the ones who rushed to His side the night of his birth. What would I have done as one of them?
I've thought how, as I love to give gifts, that I would have been eager to take the baby something really personal or special that night...even if I had to stop by the cottage on the way to the stable. Frantically I'd probably fling open my cupboards and look for something fit for the baby. I often have wondered what I would bring, were I given the chance to walk into that stable with the vision of the heavenly midnight sky full of radiant angels cascaded in Light singing praise to the new king still fresh in my mind. What would I do? What would I bring? Could I even feel worthy to look on his beautiful face for all that I know He is, and what He brings to the world? Could I walk into the stable without weeping at my own insignificance? Trembling with joy at His reality, I would probably go into the room...but I wound have no idea what to give him. I've often wondered how He could love me as I am with all my weakness. Yet, he came to us in weakness...so He must know how it must feel.
Today these thoughts came rushing back to my mind. Why did the shepherds and me joining their ranks for a night weigh heavy on me? I wanted to give so much back to my Savior. Yet what? I had the most amazing sense of peace fill my heart. It was like unto the peace that filled my heart the day I first realized that my mission in life was to teach, not just cooking, but to teach about my Savior through Love and bread. That was the day I first closed my eyes and imagined myself with a basket of five loaves and tiny fish and a meager amount of talents wondering what I could possibly do to help His children...and the Master asking me, "May I Share Thy Bread?" I offered Him my small gift that day and asked if by some miracle He could help His children through me. He has. I've seen the miracle. I cry almost daily reading letters from all over the world as people are finally able to make their own bread. I am in constant awe at that miracle in my life.
Which brings me back to the gifts we bring. Often at Christmas I hear, "We're not having much of a Christmas this year..." and then a description of financial difficulty or tragedy in a home. There's almost always a sense that if there isn't money, it won't be Christmas. Well. To those I also have to say, "You can admit you need to receive help." Many of you know where I've come from. Money was always tight. Always. Christmas always came, even if the tree was just paper in the shape of a tree taped to the wall by us as children. I can hear my mother's tear filled voice echo in my mind telling of unexpected blessings just showing up unannounced at our family's door. Beautiful gifts that were a God send. It was almost as hard to accept gifts as it was to admit that we couldn't "do it on our own". I had a friend, Marlena Porter, this week say it like this, " Maybe it challenges our pride, our need to be self sufficient, or our desire not to appear “needy”. Whatever the reason, it seems embarrassing to accept something from another person without some kind of equal exchange. It’s one of the hardest of life’s lessons ~ that as uncomfortable as receiving can be for us, to refuse the gifts of others denies them the joy and blessings that come from giving. Someone has to be the receiver." I really think that if I really do believe in that God who came to the manger, and that grace He brought the world, then yes, Christmas is all about the gifts. It is without a doubt a shadow and a symbol to accept the gifts of others. This IS The Spirit of Christmas. The Gift...and opening our hearts to receive what we cannot do for ourselves. Christmas doesn't come from a store. It comes from the heart of God. It is the love that passes all our understanding and leaves us breathless and incandescently full of peace. His Peace.
So. It comes to this. What do we give as mortals? Ruth Carter Stapleton said, “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” We're not the kings, though we are arriving much later on the scene. It's long after the birth of our King of Kings. "They brought him frankincense and myrrh. These are not the gifts that Jesus asks of us. From the treasures of our hearts, Jesus asks that we give of ourselves. " ~~Thomas S. Monson