This coming week we get to celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week (NLSW), here at Grace. This is always a fun time of the school year, but one thing it isn't, is consistent! WE don't do many things the same during this week.
Consistency, is an important part of life. How consistent are you? Do you adhere to the rule you make? Do you expect others to adhere but you don't? This is a tough concept to teach at the 4th & 5th grade level. I had to have this conversation with one of my students this week. I had to explain, that if I made an exception to the rule for her, I would be breaking the rule; not easy to understand the chain of events.
I think that is why I really like this year's theme for NLSW "It's Still All About Jesus" - "Jesus Christ the same Yesterday, Today, Forever - Hebrews 13:18" Our God, never changes, He stays the same!
It doesn't matter what we do, Jesus loves us and forgives us. Jesus gives us a consistency that is missing in the world; a consistency that has been missing in the world; a consistency that will always be missing in the world, but Jesus will never turn away from us.
Jesus led by example. One example that often comes to mind is when Peter denied Jesus at a time most crucial in Jesus' life. Peter was questioned three times if he knew the LORD. Three times Peter said NO! Each time he was more emphatic that he did not know the LORD, yet when they were together our LORD took Peter back into the discipleship. He even reinstated Peter and showed Peter how to minister to the sheep (John 21:15-25).
Our LORD knows what He expects from us and when we can't, and never will measure up, He has made a way for us. He himself has taken our place. This won't change. The promise was first made to Adam and Eve and it never changed. The promise was fulfilled through Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. The promise is fulfilled as we live out our life in HIM. The promise will be fulfilled when we each enter the kingdom when we take our last breath on earth.
Yes, Jesus Christ is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
We have just celebrated Epiphany; "Three Kings Day" or "12th Night". The day in which the Magi visited the Christ Child. I find it interesting that while they brought Him gifts, the first thing they did was to bow down and worship Him. It was only after they worshiped Him that they presented Jesus with the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
In many cultures, this is the day the gifts are exchanged and Christmas Day is the day of worship.
What strange gifts they were for a small child! We know that all small children put things in their mouths. Can you imagine Mary's thoughts?
But God the Father already had a plan in place, didn't he? He knew that Mary and Joseph would have a need for these gifts much sooner than they could imagine. They would have to pack up and travel to Egypt before the night turned into day.
These gifts would be useful in their new life in Egypt. Much speculation over the years has taken place as to what these gifts would be used for in the lives of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Did they use them for their travels? Did they use them to set up a life in Egypt? Did Mary save them and use them for Jesus' burial? We will never know...
But these gifts can have a special meaning for us in our lives.
Each of these gifts have a special story to tell...
GOLD - a precious item. What is the most precious gift you have been given? One you would not trade for anything! When you think of it, it invokes the BEST memories. Of course, our first thought is to say our salvation, for this is the best gift we could ever receive. What about an earthly gift?
FRANKINCENSE - this is often used for calming. We can look at this as a gift to renew our faith. Do you have a special devotional book or favorite Bible passages that get you through the tough times?
MYRRH - is an oil that is used for the body. We need to take care of the body both inside and out. The gift of myrrh helps to remind us that it was God who designed us and we must care for the body he gave us. How do you treat your body? Do you get enough sleep? Eat right? It is so easy in the world we live in to miss out on our body's clues?
As we see the three gifts of the Magi, let's look to them as ways to get closer to how the LORD leads us to live our lives this new calendar year.
What is wonderful about the LORD is that we don't need a new calendar year to make changes. Our LORD let us make changes in our lives each and every new day.
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School