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Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's under your tree?


Be blessed, Godtrain me in your ways of wise living. I'll transfer to my lips 
      all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. 
(Psalm 119:12-14 The Message)

It is the Christmas season once again.  As I spent the day yesterday digging decorations out of the shed and erecting the Christmas tree, I began to ponder what should be under the tree this year.  As many do, my grandsons make up a list of "wants" - taking special care to list the items that they hope for the most at the top, working their way down to the things that matter, but just not as much.  At the top of the list are two Disney videos - toward the bottom are the undies and socks!  Christmas morn will come soon enough.  Stacks of brightly wrapped items will be divided at the feet of their respective recipients.  Crumbled tissue paper and empty wrappings will scatter the floors.  All the "loot" of the holiday will be displayed over and over again.

I have to ask this question:  What will be under your tree this year?  As I put out the decorations yesterday, I asked Mom where to put the nativity scene.  Many years ago, she crafted this scene in a ceramics class, tenderly painting each piece.  The detail is amazing and the characters stand almost 12 inches tall.  It is not a small thing to put out for our enjoyment.  Without a thought, she replied, "Put it under the tree!"  

She could not have known what I was already thinking, but she hit the nail right on the head with that answer.  The most important "thing" I want under our tree is Jesus!  So, without delay, the nativity was erected right under the tree.  Yep, it will "lessen" the available space for those brightly colored packages, but I cannot think of another "gift" that has more meaning than Jesus!

Sometimes we need to slow down long enough to ponder the direction we are traveling.  David tells us that he took time to delight in what God tells him about living than in gathering that elusive pile of riches at the end of the rainbow.  I think that is the focus of Christmas - gain what is not elusive, let go of what is!  

David reminds us that counsel if of no value unless it is embraced.  We can read the Word time after time again - all the while getting absolutely nothing from it. But...in that moment of time when that counsel becomes more than words on a page, it is "transferred" into our hearts.  That moment of "transfer" brings life.

God's greatest joy is in the passing of his wisdom onto us.  He delights in us embracing his Word.  I think of a "transfer" as the passing of something from one to another.  The root of the word is "to change" - it is in the transfer of God's Word that change begins to occur.  What God gives, we delight in.  What he speaks, we embrace.  This is where "change" occurs - in the "transfer" of what he has and who he is directly into our lives.  

David uses the word "delight" when he considers what God has given him.  The "transfer" that occurs when God's hands are in the "giving" is something that brings both enjoyment and pleasure.  It is like getting what we have on our "wish list"!  We revel in the enjoyment of what we receive!  There is nothing more rewarding to God than in our delight in his counsel!  

As you ponder what goes under your Christmas tree this year, consider Jesus first.  You may not follow suit and put the nativity scene under there, but keep Christ at the center of your holiday and see what delight that brings!  Let this be a season of amassing "change" - not just stockpiles of wants and wishes.  Enjoy Jesus as much as he enjoys you!