This morning we enjoyed a lovely, simple, and meaningful Christmas church service. We sang hymns and conversed with one another about our lives with Jesus. Little clumps of people gathered to reflect on Jesus. I sat near a retired hospice nurse who shared how much music meant to people as they neared death, especially old hymns like the ones we were just singing. I asked the nurse which song was the most sung by people nearing death. She said, “How Great Thou Art,” “In the Garden,” and “Amazing Grace.” We concluded that the soul sings even as the body and mind die.
Next, the pastor asked us something interesting about what gift we might give Jesus. Many of us sat stumped. Of course we give Jesus our heart and “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12), but was there something specific we could give Jesus? The nurse said, “Time.” She would give Jesus time. I liked that answer. I thought about offering my writing and speaking as a gift to Jesus. I thought about what my day would look like if I gave Jesus more time.
As we talked about the gifts we would bring to Jesus, we considered the gifts of the three wise men. The nurse asked, “What would Jesus’ family do with the gold?” How would they have used it? The myrrh was for embalming, the frankincense for incense. How was the gold used? A biblical scholar nearby said that the gold was most likely used to pay for Jesus’ family’s escape to Egypt. And we know the gold must have been spent by the time Jesus is presented at the temple because Mary and Joseph only have the means to offer two birds. If they still had the gold, they might have offered it then. Who knows? We enjoyed wondering about this gift of gold and how it could have been the amount needed for the coming escape.
We left the church and braved the bitter cold of a white Christmas morning. My heart was full of wonderful hymns and questions to ponder.