Good morning!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  (Matthew 2:11)

Our Savior, Jesus Christ’s birth was the great gift that all of us can ever receive.   God gave His only begotten son, although we were not ready to receive Him.  On the birth day, there was no guest room available for Him.   The parents had to choose an animal’s place to give a birth to our the Savior, and placed on a manger.  Jews, who told many years we were eagerly waiting for the Savior, did not receive Him.

On the other hand, the Magi from the east made a long journey for the king of the Jews.   When they found Jesus laying on the manger, the Magi fell down and worshiped Him.  They opened their treasures, and offered Jesus Christ gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.   The angels a multitude of the heavenly host sang praises, and the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night heard the praise, and came to Jesus.   The shepherds could not stand still, and immediately went into town and told the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior.  All who heard it wondered.   Later Jesus told “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  (Luke 19:40)  upon the request of some of the Pharisees “Teach, rebuke your disciples”, who was praising, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38)  Yes, nothing can stop the praise and the joy of birth of Jesus Christ, our Savoir.

We really received the most precious gift from God.  Then what’s our gift to God?   The Magi opened their treasures that they most valued, and offered gold, frankincense and myrrh.   What is the most precious gift that we can offer?   I’ve been pondering on this question.   The birth of Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God’s love to us.   Can we give back this very gift of God’s love?     Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, miserably failed.  He betrayed Jesus three times right before the eyes of Jesus Christ.     Even so, Jesus came back to Peter, and talked to him with His love in order to forgive and restore Peter from his miserably guilty heart.   Jesus asked Him three times: “do you love me?”   He was not able to answer directly to this question.   Peter confused that he was not able to love Jesus as Jesus loved him.    God’s love is beyond any loves that we have known.   Although our heart really desires, we cannot give back the love of God.   What else we can give?   That has to be the most precious to us, and especially God really wants from us.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  (Luke 2:14)

The angels’ praise and the disciples’ praise gave a clue (at least to me).   God gave peace to those on whom his favor rests, i.e., us.    Through the birth of Jesus, God gave peace to us.   Adam and Eve could not have this peace with God.   After they sinned, they hid themselves from God’s face because they were afraid of God although God was calling them.  Their hearts were not in peace with God.  God, thus, showed His love and gave protection although they had not have peace with Him.   How about us?   Do we have peace with God?   

Recently, I had a chance to watch Forrest Gump again.   Lt. Dan lost both legs at a battle in Vietnam, and he always had an anger and resentment toward Forrest and God.   He badly wanted to die after being wounded, but he was rescued by Forrest.   Lt. Dan’s life without both legs was harsh and difficult.   Finally, he argued with and shouted at God during a stormy at the top of the mast, which was Lt. Dan’s pinnacle venting out all of his anger and frustration.    However, soon, the storm became the conduit of blessings, and most importantly, he found a true peace.   In the scene, Lt. Dan pulls himself out of his wheelchair and onto the rail of the boat. He spins and jumps into the water, causing a big splash. We then see a tranquil Lt. Dan doing a floating backstroke with only the sea, the sky, and some distant clouds in the horizon.   Later, Forrest told “He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God.”

Perhaps, the most precious gift that we can give is a true peace with God.   God has been always wanting for this true peace with us since the sinning of Adam and Eve.  

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”  (1 Samuel 7:12)

2015 is rapidly concluding.  2015 will not come again.  Why not looking back what God has done to us in our lives?  Like Lt. Dan on top of the mast during a storm, some of us sailed through a stormy water being surrounded by troubles on every side, but were not crushed.   Some of us perplexed, but were not driven to complete despair.   Some of us knocked down, but were not totally destroyed.   Thus far God has led and helped us.   As Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizaph and Shen, it is time to put our own stone between 2015 and 2016, and call it Ebenezer – stone of help.    Presenting our peace with God is truly opening our treasure, and giving the best to God.   Praise God, who is always faithful and infinitely patient with us because He is love!   Give our true peace to God, the One who wants a personal relationship with us in peace. 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)

Let’s continue praying before God to have peace with Him regardless situations around us.   Through this peace, His name will be magnified, and people may see the glory of God.   Thus,  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

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