The magi got it right. The Bible says, very specifically, that before they presented their gifts to Jesus,
They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11, NIV)
Worship and prayer preceded the gift-giving and may have pervaded the whole process. They intensified the effect of their gifts by how they presented them.
Wouldn’t it be something if we imitated the magi in that respect this year? Wouldn’t it be something if we didn’t just rush through the shopping and wrapping just to “git ‘er done?”
Wouldn’t it be something if instead of tossing our gifts at one another we made the process into an act of worship and prayer?
What would that look like? I’m so glad you asked.
Try this. As you shop–whether in a store or online–use the shopping experience as an opportunity for listening prayer.
You might ask, “Lord, would this be a good fit for Julie? If not, suggest something else.” Or, “God, what can I give that would really bless Mom and let her know that You and I both love her?”
The praying doesn’t have to end when the shopping does. Gift wrapping and shipping present opportunities for prayer, too. Try praying for each recipient as you wrap gifts. Ask God to be near to them and meet their needs as you wrap.
Tell God what You want the recipient to feel or know as he or she unwraps the gift. You can even jot a short prayer on the gift tag, along the lines of, “May God use this to increase your love for Him” or “May God lift your spirits as you’ve lifted mine.”
You can even do as the magi did and make the actual presentation of your gift a sacred moment.
Maybe as you deliver the gift to the recipient, you could pray (silently or audibly, depending on your comfort level–and theirs), “Lord, let Kyle know how much he means to me as he opens this present” or “Father, let this gift really bless him, and let it be just the beginning of the good things he enjoys today.”
It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, the simpler the better. But making prayer a part of your shopping, wrapping and gift-giving can make it a whole different experience.
Have you done something like this? What traditions make gift-giving more meaningful for you? Do you plan to do anything differently this year?
Written By Bob Hostetler
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