Jesus’ Birthday List

What do you give someone who has everything, literally?  Now before you think of that difficult person in your life to shop for, let me redirect your thoughts for a moment.  We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and yet we get the gifts.  This has been a consistent issue that my 4-year-old son has had this year.  Just the other day he said, “I want to give Jesus something for His birthday, but nothing I give Him he will want.”  That got me thinking.  What would be on a wish list for Jesus.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together – Colossians 1:16-17

Obviously, Jesus is not going to want some material gift.  As the creator of everything, getting a new electronic toy is not going to be meaningful to Him.  So, maybe our focus needs to be on things we do for other people.  After all, that is what Jesus modeled, right. What would his list look like?

There are some deeply troubling needs in the world.  Would the top of his list have things like a cure for cancer, food for the hungry, the end of human trafficking?  Would that special gift be that all would have access to medicine or clean water?  Maybe those are too large to try to wrap our mind around.

Well, then how about family needs? Could there be marriages reconciled?  Maybe some parents and children need to find a way to love each other.  How about the financial strain that plague so many families?  Could that be remedied with self-control?

Perhaps instead of something like that, you would look at your own life.  What am I doing for Jesus, is it enough?  Are you showing His love to other people?  Are you avoiding sin or are you embracing it, rationalizing it as ‘not too bad’? Do you prioritize worship, prayer and the reading of the Bible?  Is that what Jesus wants?

While all these things seem nice, I believe that the answer to this question comes in a statement Jesus made.

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  – Matthew 22:47-49

If we limit what we do for Jesus to a simple material item, or something that is done for Jesus out of duty, we are missing the point.

Jesus was not concerned with material things or having people do something for him out of obligation.  All he wants is for you to love God with all your heart as you follow Him and then love other people.  If we are loving God and people, the needs that are out there would be addressed.  If God has your heart, it gives perspective to life’s struggles and hope for a future.  When we love God we desire to be with Him, we cast off sin and turn to His ways.

Remember the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18?  He came to Jesus and described how much he had done for God in his life and still he felt like something was missing.   He had kept the commands, or so he said, but realized that without eternal life he had nothing.  Jesus said, “You still lack one thing.  Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” -Luke 18:22

Jesus was not after this man’s wealth, but He realized that the one thing holding Him back from loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength was his wealth.  As it turned out, it was the one thing this man was not willing to part with and even the promise of treasure in heaven didn’t entice him to follow Jesus.

There lies the answer to what Jesus wants from us– our life.  He wants us to choose to love and follow Him.

So, while we don’t have a present under the tree wrapped for Jesus, we do have a life that can be given to Him.  Each of us will make a big difference in the world when we love God with passion and love other people.

We told our 4-year-old son that it was not about something we could give to Jesus that he could open, like Legos, but it was living God’s ways.  It is by not doing things our own way, but rather follow God’s ways.  It is by helping other people and showing His love to the world.  For him, we made it personal with things like being kind to his brother, sharing and helping his friends.  They are all ways he can practice his love for God and people.

This Christmas Season give to Jesus what he has wanted all along, your heart.

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