Monday, December 15, 2014

Gift Exchange

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
….11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4: 7-8, 11-13.

Gifts are something we exchange during this Christmas time. Have you ever thought about why we do this?

I suppose it could be due to the Wise Men. We all know they brought their gifts to Jesus. I also suppose it could be because of St. Nicholas, the real person, who lived in Turkey in the in the early 300’s and used his inheritance to help the sick, needy, and suffering.

Today’s passage leads us to a different place. Maybe we give gifts because Jesus also gave gifts to us. The gifts from Jesus include people: you and me, and the special abilities that we uniquely bring to our faith communities.

Here at Tabor College this year we exchanged gifts with one another. However we did something completely different than any gift exchange I’d ever experienced before. We exchanged the gift of prayer. Each person was given the name of a colleague in the office and invited to pray for that person and his or her family for a week. We were instructed to write down any verses, words, or pictures we had while we prayed for the person; and finally, at the “gift exchange” we shared those words, pictures, verses, etc. with the person.

I have to say this is one of the most memorable staff Christmas times I’ve ever experienced. I’ve loved the laughter of funny White Elephant gift exchanges, but for the impact and meaning, it will be hard to beat this year.

For whom can you give the gift of prayer? What true gifts can all of us give to those we love this Christmas?