A Christmas Offering

We bring an offering of worship to our King

No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing

Jesus, may you receive the honor that you are due

O Lord, I bring an offering to you

- Christmas Offering, Paul Baloche -

Offerings are worship.

Humility handed over.

We give what is worthy to the One who is worthy.

Considering the first Christmas and it’s participants, each had a different part.  Each had a different gift to offer.  Each, however, gave more than just some thing.  Each gave themselves.  Each laid their pride at the Child Messiah’s feet as well.

The shepherds gave the offering of their witness.  Shepherds were cultural outcasts.  Ancient nobodies.  Near the bottom of the social ladder.  And stuck out in the fields with the smelly sheep.  Their story is in Luke 2:8-20.  While keeping watch over their flocks they were terrified by an angel of the Lord who appeared with God’s radiant glory to announce the birth of the child Messiah.  A heavenly host chorus - hundreds or thousands of angels - followed, singing, “Glory to God in the highest.”  And these shepherds, overwhelmed as they were, hurried off to see baby Jesus.  What raises my questions is how they lowered their pride.  These guys who so much could have used a credibility lift, went out - at risk of sounding crazy & further damaging their reputation - and spread the news of the Messiah to anyone & everyone who would listen “and all who heard it were amazed.”  They risked the little they had to tell everyone about Jesus.    They gave the offering of their witness, an act of worship, laying down their pride.

Do I believe God worthy enough to tell everyone His message of love?  All the people I know?  All the folks I meet?  To offer my witness of Christ?  Trusting God with my reputation and the judgments of others upon me?

The Wise Men gave the offering of their work.  The magi or kings as they have been known, were astronomers from a far off place.  Matthew 2:1-12 tells their story.  The Bible doesn’t tell what their jobs were.  Were they professional astronomers?  Ancient college professors or professional sages of a sort?  Maybe they were independently wealthy and already had the means to make such a trip?  No matter their funding, the fact remains that they took a trip that may have lasted years to meet someone they didn’t know to give physical gifts worthy of a king.  They risked their lives along the way - ancient travel was dangerous without TSA or cell phones or dependable law enforcement - and in arriving they risked even more due to local King Herod’s murderous ways.  They risked everything for their work of finding the child king.  And, they sacrificed their ability to work & make income to provide for their own family needs.  Plus, they spent the income of their previous work to make the trip.  They gave the offering of their work, an act of worship, laying down their pride.

Do I believe God worthy enough to give my work life & my life’s work fully to Him?  Every minute?  Every project?  Every dream?  To offer my work to Jesus?  Trusting that all I do and all it earns will be enough to provide for my family and all God intends? 

Mary gave the offering of her whole being.  As a teenager betrothed - like engagement but more binding - to be married to an older carpenter named Joseph, she was surprised by an angel to learn of her pregnancy.  Luke 1:26 and following tells her story.  “How can this be since I am a virgin?,” she asked.  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” told the angel.  Not by an act of flesh, but by the power of God she was a mother.  Mother to God in flesh.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  And, Mary answered in Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”  She was willing to give everything.  Her physical body to carry, bare, and care for this child.  And if child bearing was not hard enough, and the nine months pregnant donkey travel and manger delivery didn’t make it harder, she would have this child in a cloud of suspicion due to the immaculate conception.  She gave her reputation.  She gave her community standing.  She believed God.  And so she gave her whole self as an offering, an act of worship, regardless of her pride.

Do I believe God worthy enough to give him my everything?  My life?  My control?  To offer my whole being?  Trusting the entirety of myself and my future completely to Him?

We don’t live in the Ancient Near East.  No donkey trips for census.  No camel journeys following stars for us.  But we sure have pride.  Selfish pride.  Posturing, self-righteous pride.  And we have communities of people who watch us.  And judge us.  Even today.  And we do allow our perception of their judgment, our concern for reputation among others, and that foolish pride of ours to hinder our obedience to our God and Father.  Our offerings become subject to self-righteous scrutiny.  Humility is hamstrung by pride.

Each of us must consider.

My witness.  My work.  My whole life. 

Do I trust God enough?

Do I love God enough?

Do I worship God enough?

To give Him the offering He desires.

The offering He is worthy of.

Even if it means laying down my pride.