Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)
TITLE: To Give An Unwanted, Unneeded, Offensive Gift
By Sonya Leigh
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
One of my favorite such gifts came many years ago from a dear friend of mine. I had just given birth and was feeling large and unfashionable, down to only two outfits that fit. Eager to please me and spread the season’s cheer, my friend arrived on Christmas morning, breakfast in hand, to join our family.
We were in the midst of our traditional gift exchange, when it came time for me to open the gift box from my friend. All at once I realized I would have to feign gratitude for this garment I was pulling out-- this dress without end, as wide as it was long with enormous butterfly sleeves that fell to the floor. My eyes grew wider as my mouth lost its upward curl, revealing astonishment in lieu of delight.
The Wright brothers could have used this dress in one of their test runs.
On yet another Christmas, my family received a gift that was so intrusive, so outlandish that we could hardly believe it was earnest. My mother and father-in-law bought us a French provincial coffee table and proudly placed it right in the middle of our contemporary collection. They told us it would bear the teeth marks of their future grandchildren. What were we to do with this curvaceous anomaly in our living room? Of course, we kept it and eventually grew attached to it and the teeth marks it displayed.
The other day while pondering the upcoming Christmas Season, I thought about the many items still in various corners of our house from previous Christmases--items that I neither wanted nor needed. Why had I kept them all these years? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I realized that the intents far outweighed the gifts themselves. And each gift carried a purpose delivered with it.
As I turned over each oddball gift in my mind, it occurred to me that Jesus could also have been classified as one of these types of gifts. He was born into this world, unwanted, unneeded, and as an anomaly in the natural order of the world.
Unlike most infants, His arrival was unwelcome and rather uncomfortable for many: Joseph was at first bewildered by His existence, until an angel explained the purpose of the babe; Nazareth was aflame with tongues of disapproval regarding Joseph and Mary’s illegitimate child; Herod the Great was so tormented and threatened by this tiny arrival that he succumbed to devilish insanity and ordered all male children two and under to be put to death in Bethlehem.
Shepherds, angels, wise men from afar, kings and rulers were changed, impacted, awed and unnerved. Yet in all these reactions, so few realized the intent and purpose of the Giver: forgiveness, cleansing, restoration and fellowship with God.
Not only did Jesus not arrive in the package we expected but even the actual gift was far from what we imagined. Which of us, after all, would have dreamed up a gift with such a delivery?
Today, the gift goes on to be unwanted, unneeded and much too intrusive to be considered by a world dying in its own embers. Yet there is no reason better than this present season to give such a gift. Who knows, it may be that this is the season for an unripe heart to want the unwanted, to see his need for the needless, to welcome an intrusion of love and forgiveness. What better way to find out than to give Him to someone, to watch and see what God can do?
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