What Gift Do I Bring?

Christmas is becoming a memory for so many, and the New Year has just passed us by one day already. It is always my hope, however, that the season of peace, good will toward our fellow man or woman, and the joy of living would continue on well into this year. In the Roman Catholic Christian tradition, we celebrate the visitation of the Magi, or more commonly known as the visit by the Three Kings. These men of great intelligence, power, wealth, and magic recognized the appearance of a new star in the sky, which they learned was a sign that a new king had been born. Astrologers and scientists by training, and leaders of their own countries, these men chose to bring three very royal gifts to whomever it was they were going to meet. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Gold signified the kingly status of this person as divinely ordained. Frankincense signified the holiness and righteousness of the person being “censed” by the aromatic smoke. Myrrh, an Arabic product used for embalming, signified bitterness, suffering, and affliction – some would say the bearer of this gift foresaw the suffering of Jesus and felt it appropriate. (See http://www.gotquestions.org/gold-frankincense-myrrh.html for more explanation of the Magi gifts.) When Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melcheor met the newborn king, they must have been dumbstruck. Here they brought extravagant gifts to a very humble family, and an innocent child, but they continued to offer their gifts and pay homage. I believe they still knew their gifts were appropriate and would be of use someday for this poor family.

As I reflected on this special offering of gifts to the newborn Christ child, I started to think of my own life. Every person has a “gift” they bring into this world. Some may not have discovered it yet, while others share their gift freely with those around them. Whether that gift is a special talent, such as singing, performing on stage, cooking, writing stories, teaching, leading and organizing people, or whether that gift is simply having an understanding heart, and knowing the right words to say to comfort someone, each of these are gifts that are discovered when shared.

Since this is still considered the season of gift-giving, we also still focus on our gifts, meaning the gifts we possess. Those of us who spend New Year’s Eve thinking about the upcoming year ahead of us may have started writing down resolutions of what we would like to change. In my case, I wrote down “my gifts” that I can and will share with others. Essentially, these are the gifts I bring to others, just as the Magi brought Jesus three special gifts.

I mentioned in an earlier blog post this past month that the year had been somewhat difficult for me on many levels – physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. As a result of this acknowledgment, I referred back to my I AM statements (see the Blogs by Claire post from October 17, 2015, “The Power of Self-Affirmation” to see my personal list) in an effort to search for my gifts again. I started with three that seemed like gifts I could readily share with others, but then the list kept growing because I AM gifted with more than just three traits in body, mind, heart, and spirit. I then thought about not just what I have brought to others as gifts, but whether I should leave other gifts behind as I select what to bring into 2016, the New Year. I asked myself questions while reading my I AM statements. Instead of saying “I AM,” in my statement, I asked myself “Have I been…?” and had to think about the answer. Sadly, I realized I could not honestly say that I had been what I said I AM. Here’s an example:

  • I AM Loving… Have I been loving? To most people in my life, yes I have. But there are three very important people who I hold very dearly whom I have not always been the most loving and understanding toward. I need to work on that if I am to bring this into the New Year.
  • I AM Faithful… Have I been faithful? To people, yes. But I have often neglected or taken for granted those talents or abilities that were meant to be shared for the benefit of others. In other words, I have not been faithful in sharing my time, talents, or resources with those I could have shared them with.
  • I AM Confident… Have I been confident? I wanted to cry when I read this statement and left with the feeling that I had failed miserably in several aspects of my life. I lacked a great deal of confidence this year because although I had spent time uplifting others, I forgot to give myself a peptalk. I looked back and realized that I doubted myself on several occasions and ended up losing sleep over something that was already taken care of.

You get the picture… I need to work on the gifts I am bringing. I need to work on myself.

In The Last Prophet book series, the main character, Sophia, talks about how God loves each of us and sees something special in every soul, and I do mean EVERY soul. This is because God, whether you refer to God as Allah, Jehovah, Lord, or Creator, has seen the gift you bring or the gift you were born to bring to others. You might not bring it well, but you can still bring the gift and it will be up to others to either accept or decline it. God just wants you to do what you are able to do to the best of your ability. This is the message the main character in the book series states, and this is a lesson we can learn.

Yes, we need to focus on bringing our gifts in the best way we know how, but that means we need to keep working on becoming the best we can be so that the gift does not get warped by our lack of interest or giving up. I know and have shared in this blogpost some of what I myself will be working on again as I do the best I can to bring my gifts into the New Year. It’s all I have been asked to do and all I really can do. I’m not perfect, but I am working toward becoming the best gift I can be to others.

What gifts do you bring into the New Year? What gifts from last year will you continue bringing with you? Comment in the space provided.

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