A beautiful starlit night with a fresh blanket of snow … the Magi, bearing gifts, peering over the shoulders of Mary and Joseph to see the new baby … and the mother who had just given birth sitting next to the newborn, with every hair in place and looking not the least bit distressed … that has always been how I envisioned the manger scene. Nice, neat, pristine.
In the lowliest of conditions
the Savior of the world
both entered and left this world.
There was nothing hygienic about his surroundings. It was a dark, musty, dirty place. In a manger made of clay mixed with straw or stones held together with mud, the tiny King rested his head.
And this little baby — this sweet, holy gift who came to redeem us — was sent by God to enter an even darker, dirtier place … our hearts.
If you are like me, I want guests to enjoy a comfortable, warm environment when I invite them in, and I would be embarrassed at the surroundings inside my heart. It is cold and there is nothing inviting there. I have nothing to give Him. The walls are marred with the scars of life and there is dirt I have quietly swept under the rug and pushed into the corners where it is less conspicuous. And the only sound? The echo of a faint heartbeat.
Can’t you hear God whisper, “It’s okay. There is no need to clean things up. That’s why I sent Jesus. He isn’t afraid of dark, cold places. He wants your heart no matter the condition. It would be the most marvelous gift.”
Jesus is the best gift that I have ever received, but I must confess, the prospect of allowing Him access to my heart made me afraid. I had allowed others to enter before, but they were undeserving. My heart had been battered and bruised and used, and my mind could not wrap itself around the Truth that God would find the gift of my heart appealing or acceptable. Others had disposed of it after they had used it. They had not valued it. What would be different about Him?
I had sought after things, people, and different surroundings to heal my wounded heart … but to no avail. And when I found myself at the end of my rope, realizing there was no earthly thing that would make my heart whole again, I finally relented.
And His Word is as good as gold, friend. He cannot lie. He will take you just as you are. Your heart is exactly the gift that He wants. He will not tell you it is the wrong size or too damaged. He won’t return it, regift it, or put it on the shelf never to be looked at or touched again.
He takes each of our hearts as a most treasured gift and holds it safely in His hands with tender care like no one else.
He is the ONLY constant, unchanging person I can trust with my whole heart.
And because I live in a fallen world, it is likely there will be more bumps and bruises. But next year I will unhesitatingly approach the manger and say, “I have a gift for you, Jesus … It’s my heart.”
And He will gratefully accept it and say, “It’s exactly what I wanted.”
Read our other Christmas posts from this week:
- Noel – Beth
- Christmas Time Is Here – Andrea
- Prayers & Praise – Cassandra
- Keeping Christ in “Christmas” – Liz
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Pam recently traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. When she is not spending her time as a freelance court reporter, you will find her loving up her adorable cocker spaniel, hiking, traveling, writing creative nonfiction, or working out. Her passion is sharing her story so others can join her in celebrating the freedom found in a redemptive Savior.