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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 7: Using our gifts

Gifts are such an integral aspect of Christmas that sometimes we forget that it was God Himself who gave the ultimate gift in sending Jesus Christ to us. But beyond the physical exchange of gifts that is obviously a part of Christmas, we should also think about the ways in which we ourselves are gifted and furthermore, the manner in which we are using those gifts to serve others and the church. We are gifted so that we ourselves can reflect the light of God's glory to the world around us.
Today I had the privilege of spending a few hours with an amazingly gifted woman of God. Victoria is from the Philippines and has quite possible the purest heart for God of anyone I've ever met. She is an amazing servant and she consistently serves because she loves God. She gets embarrassed when I thank her, humbly claiming that it is a gift from God that she is able to serve. And she does it all with absolute joy and unending energy. Victoria always has a huge hug for me. She is often spotted giggling. She loves to be in on a joke or take part in a funny game. She is the embodiment of the light that is Christ.
And she does all this in spite of being married to someone who doesn't share her passion for ministry. All this in spite of the fact that her teenage son isn't quite as interested in going to church as she is. All this in spite of the fact that she works long and demanding hours at the residence of the American Ambassador. All this in spite of her longing to be nearer to the rest of her family in the Philippines as they face countless challenges and obstacles.
Victoria teaches Sunday School. Victoria helps serve at potlucks, weddings, newcomer lunches, and funerals. She is the sort of artist who can take a pineapple and turn it into a beautiful bouquet of flowers. And she can take a bouquet of flowers and transform them into an arrangement so beautiful you can hardly believe that it was done with human hands. That's what we did today...we walked to the outdoor flower market, choose white roses and lilies, returned to church and created the most beautiful arrangement to adorn the coffin at the funeral tomorrow. OK, she created it and I looked on in awe. And all the while she kept saying what a privilege it is to serve the Lord.
Victoria is a multi-gifted person and she willfully, even eagerly, looks for opportunities to give glory to God in the highest with all of the gifts that she embodies.
And so as you are out Christmas shopping or pondering what to get for all of the folks on your list, take a moment in the midst of all of the buying to consider what gifts lie within you. And be sure to use them this Christmas as well.