“Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.””
I was cleaning up from a busy day at school with my Littles – setting things straight for another full day of learning ahead on the morrow – when I caught sight of Baby Jesus.
He looked remarkably content in his makeshift box manger, cooing amongst the – er, dry erase markers.
I’m not entirely sure how to interpret this image. I mean, what was the thought process behind the offering? Was this an accidental drive-by ‘markering’? Did it simply tickle someone’s fancy, or was there more of a generous and thoughtful concern for the baby’s emotional state at the heart of the gesture? Did someone genuinely believe that Baby Jesus wanted drawing implements?
I guess we’ll never know.
But it got me thinking.
You know, about gifts given to God and such. I mean, seriously. Most of us are a little vague in the ‘what God wants for Christmas’ department, aren’t we?
What does God want from me?
A variety of things mind come to mind, we’re we to scratch out a quick list.
Perfection. Sacrifice. Quit smoking and drinking and add more church in for good measure.
Lots and lots of trying really really really hard to be good.
Kind deeds. Lofty goals. Perhaps a juicy fat donation.
But the truth is quite simple.
Jesus said it Himself, in this story recorded for us in the gospel of John.
“Believe in the one he has sent.”
And since we know it was Jesus who was sent into the world on that dark Bethlehem night so long ago, we can put it another way.
‘BELIEVE in me.’
‘Believe IN me.’
‘Believe in ME.’
Wow. No striving. No mustering up another scrap of goodness when the goodness is spent. No more checking off impossible items off a list that can’t possibly be sustained because we are tired and broken, living in a tired and broken world.
Take the good news at face value and believe that Baby Jesus just wants me.
Me. Plain, imperfect, messed up me. Me, whose heart desires more than anything to make the baby in the manger happy with my offering.
Are you scrambling to give the Christ Child token gifts when all He wants is your trust?
Give Jesus the gift of your faith with me this Christmas?
Father, we so often get confused with what Toy really want from us, when all You want is for us to believe in the One You sent. Give us a sweet, pure faith that we can return to You as a sweet, pure gift! Amen.