What Gifts Do You Bring?
Stassi Cramm, Presiding Bishop and member of First Presidency
…and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. -Matthew 2:9b-11
I have a compulsive need for a clean house as we celebrate the New Year. This causes me to take down all the Christmas decorations and clean the house shortly after Christmas. One year I shocked my friend when she learned I had packed away our manger scene before the day of Epiphany. She knew we always made a big deal of putting baby Jesus in the manger for the kids to find on Christmas morning. She was puzzled why we wouldn’t have a similar tradition of adding the three wise men to the scene on January 6.
I confess I have not overcome my compulsion to pack away our decorations before New Year’s Eve. However, I now ponder my packed-away wise men in a way I didn’t before. I doubt they were aware of the important part they would play in the Christmas story, how their story of fearlessly following the star and offering precious gifts would become an example of sacrificial generosity.
In the Presiding Bishopric, we have the privilege of witnessing similar acts of generosity. We receive emails, letters, and calls sharing stories of individuals and families who are passionate about local and worldwide mission and are generous in giving to Mission Tithes. We hear stories of people’s wishes to help complete the Bridge of Hope project who give from their abundance to Bridge of Hope Tithes.
We meet with families who plan their bequests so the mission of the church continues to be supported. Every story has a “star” leading the people to a deeper understanding of what they are following. The stories also culminate with a generous “gift” people discover they can share.
What star guides you, and what gifts do you bring?
“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)
A New Beginning
Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.