So what gift are you going to give Jesus today?
Remember the story of the little drummer boy? I think it’s appropriate that the story of the Magi happens on the 12th day of Christmas, the one with the 12 drummers drumming in the Christmas carol “The Twelve days of Christmas”. We often talk about the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that Jesus received from the Magi but I think what is most important is the gift that the drummer boy gave him. He gave him the only thing he could give him. He didn’t give him anything that had to be wrapped. He gave him his best. He played his drum the best way he knew how, from his heart. That is the kind of gift to Jesus wants. Jesus wants us to give the best of ourselves to him and for him.
Jesus often says in the Gospels “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”. When he says that, he’s quoting from the prophet Hosea. Jesus doesn’t want your money. He wants your love and your service and your heart and your compassion.
So often, people talk about all that Jesus has done for them. They talk about how he sacrificed his life for their sins or how he promised them eternal life. They talk about how he saved them. But what happens after that? This isn’t a one way transaction. After that is when we have to prove ourselves worthy of that gift, “to bear fruit worthy of redemption”. That is when we have to give our gifts.
We give gifts to Jesus when we feed the hungry, show compassion, volunteer our time to help people who are needy. We give gifts to Jesus when we open our hearts and our homes to people who are fleeing injustice and war and oppression. We give gifts to Jesus when we treat every single person as if they are Jesus, remembering that he said “Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me”.