On Monday, December 8th, my daughter had a day off from school. We used the time to set up our Putz:
the prophet, prophesying the coming Savior;
the Angel, visiting Mary;
the wise men, watching out for the star, following its beams and arriving in Jerusalem;
Herod in his castle;
the shepherds with their flocks;
the stable with the newborn king, and all people around, making music, kneeling down, worshiping Jesus.
While I was sitting in front of the Putz, my eyes were drawn to the rays of the star. His light was guiding me to stable.
Suddenly I was in there —
I could smell the stable, the hay and straw,
the wood and the animals, the cool air.
I heard the cry of the baby and the soft voice of his mom.
I heard the scraping of feet, the baah of a lamb.
I became aware, that I had become part of the scene. I found myself among all these familiar figures: the shepherds with their sheep, Mary and Joseph with the baby, the ox and the donkey, nodding his head.
And coming out of the shadow, there were the wise men.
I could see, how they offered their gifts to the newborn baby and his parents.
The gold was sparkling in the light of the lantern.
The smell of frankincense filled the whole room immediately.
I had to take an extra deep breath.
And the myrrh looked very precious in its flask.
How remarkable that these people had come from so far to worship and adore this little baby.
They had followed the star.
I couldn’t even begin to imagine, what their journey was like.
But here they were and offered the most extraordinary gifts to this most precious child: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
And after they had given, they looked as if they had received.
As if their dreams had come true.
As if their longings and desires had been satisfied and fulfilled.
Was it about giving gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus to heal my longings, my homesickness, and my emptiness, too?
Suddenly there was someone else in the stable with us. And I was wondering if I still could trust my eyes. It was a child.
He started talking to Jesus:
“Jesus, I saw what the wise men gave to you and I would like to give you a gift, too. Would you like my new train set or the smartphone or my new sports outfit? Or would you be happy if I gave you …”
“Wait a moment,” Jesus stopped him. “Wait a moment. Thank you so much, but what I really would like is nothing from what you just mentioned. I would be more than happy if you could bring me the grade you got on your last test.”
“But, Jesus, I failed. I got an F.”
“Yes, give me your F. Give me all your failures. Come to me, when you feel like a failure. I will not judge you but grant you grace. Will you come to me?”
“Yes, Jesus, I will.”
“There is something else, I would like from you: your breakfast cup.”
“But Jesus, it is broken.”
“Yes, I know, I want you to bring all what is broken in your life. I will not destroy it but restore it and heal. Will you trust me?”
“Yes, Jesus, I will.
“One more thing: please, give me the answer you gave your mom, when she asked you how your cup broke.”
“… I lied, I told her, the cat did it…”
“Yes, please bring to me all lies, all wrongs; I will help you to make it right. You will learn to be true and loving. Will you do that?”
“Yes, Jesus, I will.”
“And if you always give all these things to me – you will be a really wise person, too.”
While listening, my heart began burning. I knelt down at the manger and – looking into Jesus’ eyes, I said: I came here, full of emptiness, longing and homesickness. I saw what the wise men gave you and what you gave them. I listened to you and the child. I found your love and forgiveness and the way to life. Please accept my gifts, too.
I don’t have gold, as it is appropriate for the King of Heaven and Earth. The gold I present to you is myself. All what is precious to me, I give up to you. I trust myself in your hands and care.
I have no frankincense, to honor and worship you, o God from God and Light from Light. The frankincense, I submit to you, are my thoughts and feeling, my questions and knowledge, my prayer and devotion.
I have no myrrh, Jesus, Physician and Savior. The myrrh, I offer to you, are my sorrows and suffering, my pain and hurts. I trust in your healing power and love.
Then I heard Jesus say: Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.
And then I found myself sitting in the living room again – in front of the Putz, the words of a familiar hymn came to my mind, which became my prayer:
This will I do, o child divine, I’ll give you all I hold as mine. My soul, my body, Lord, is yours, and all the gifts, your love outpours. My humble off’rings now receive, and through your grace, Lord, let me live in faithfulness through all my days, and join in heavens ceaseless praise. (Moravian Book of Worship 279:3)
I wish you a blessed celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Your sister Erdmute D. Frank