What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give him, give him my heart.
~In the Bleak Midwinter, Christina Rossetti
This quiet lullaby, sung at Christmas, reminds us of our feeble attempts to give God something useful. He doesn’t need anything from us…but he wants our attention, our adoration, our love…because he loves us. What could we possibly give him that would add to his existence? Nothing. But we can love him and share his love with others.
My dear friends Jason and Megan are expecting a baby this winter. My four-year old daughter, a shoe diva, uncovered a lovely treasure that she has outgrown, and she wants to give it to them…for their baby. A pair of sparkly yellow sling backs.
Someone in her short life thought that they could enhance her small existence by giving her this snazzy pair of ‘clompy shoes’. She didn’t need them. She could barely balance in them. But she loved them. And she knew that someone understood her adoration of fancy footwear.
After several weeks of her flopping around in them, sliding on our wood floors, and tripping herself multiple times, I hid the shoes in her closet. We discovered them again while making seasonal adjustments to her wardrobe recently. When she found the shoes, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with them now that she had outgrown them. Give them to someone special. They were special to her, and she wanted to share their ‘specialness’ with someone.
Jason and Megan’s baby will be born in the ‘bleak midwinter’… a time of year when sling backs are just not appropriate. That the baby will not have the muscular tone and strength to hold on shoes aside. This gift is a bit unnecessary, unneeded.
But the shoes are not truly the gift, are they? It’s the love. The sparkly, shiny, precious, shared love. The love that has already begun for a baby who isn’t here yet. She doesn’t need shoes, but she needs love. And we’re already for her…with open arms.
God doesn’t need our oversized, glitzy, glamorous gifts. He doesn’t even need our small, sensitive, sentimental gifts. He wants our intangible gifts… greeting him with open arms and open minds, desiring to spend time with him and learn about him, sharing the truth of his love with others. He wants our hearts.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.