“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
I was struck recently by the lyrics of the last verse of the carol In the Bleak mid-winter:
“What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.” In the Bleak Mid-winter – Christina G. Rossetti
The birth of Jesus resulted in the bringing of gifts. While the Bible doesn’t specifically mention in Luke 2 about the shepherds bringing a lamb to Jesus it is a standard part of nativity scenes and Christmas cards. And the wise men definitely did bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Later in His life we see a lady pour oil over Jesus’ feet as her gift to Him. The response to the arrival of our Saviour King is to bring a gift as worship to Him.
This Christmas Jesus does not need a lamb or gold or frankincense or myrrh or scented oil. In Romans 12 it is made clear that the gift He desires is for us to offer our lives as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. We are to give our hearts to Jesus. To turn from all else and put Him first. To honour Him. To use our lives to point to Him and reflect His glory into the world. To be His hands and feet in a world that is in desperate need. That is the gift we must bring Jesus this Christmas – a gift of spiritual worship as we do our part and give our heart to the One who gave His life for us so that we may be free from the chains that had bound us.