By Becky Miller
Galatians 5:22-23 doesn’t sound much like Christmas, does it? No angels, no baby, no star, but then I remembered a rhyme I learned as a child and taught my daughters.
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb.
If I were a Wiseman, I’d do my part.
What can I give Him, I’ll give Him my heart.”
Jesus wants my heart for Christmas, and He will accept it as it is. But am I satisfied with this gift? Am I content with giving good enough? I have always wanted to give perfect gifts; I have spent hours shopping, returning, and shopping again to give those I love the very best gifts I can. So when I assess my gift for God, can I offer Him any less than the best I can give? If God wants my heart, and I truly believe He does, I need to make it the very best heart I can offer: one filled with the fruits of the spirit.
And here in Galatians, I find all the instructions needed to perfect my gift: the gift I give to Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the source of my salvation. It is as if I asked God for a shopping list. I have always liked working from a list and checking things off, so for this Advent Season, I am going to make these verses my shopping list. My heart needs some work, but I like knowing what God really wants. I can work on love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I like the specificity of this list-it is real, and with God’s help it is possible, not overnight, not all at once, but little by little if I keep the goal in front of me.
Father, it is good to know that I am yours no matter what, that your love is unshakeable, and not dependent on my effort. Grace is good. But shield me from complacency; remind me that although grace and total acceptance are already mine, you are worthy of so much more. Create in me a new heart this Christmas. Amen.