An Unexpected Gift

The people of the East District continue our shared journey as we read together chapter 18 in the devotional book by Brian McLaren, titled We Make the Road by Walking.

In our tradition, the story is told that 12 days after the birth of the Christ Child Magi showed up to offer their gifts. (Right now my mind is hearing the song, “We Three Kings.”) How many sermons have we all heard about what the gold, frankincense, and myrrh represented? In our reading this week McLaren surprises us by suggesting that the Magi bring with them an unexpected gift.

McLaren causes us to focus on the fact that the Magi are wise people from another country, who are not of Jewish descent. He writes, “How meaningful it is that people of other religions – the Magi from the East and the Egyptians to the south – help save Jesus’ life. Could their role in the Christmas story be a gift to us today?” The gift that McLaren talks about is one that calls us to look at other religions with a bit of grace. Rather than looking for the things with which we disagree, McLaren challenges us to consider other religions with a sense of curiosity about what good they may offer the world.

Following on the readings from the Bible the last several weeks, the text of the book calls us to consider what it means to be people of grace, people who welcome those who may have differing beliefs.

As we begin a new year how will the unexpected gift offered by the Magi challenge us to live the very highest ideals of faith, the faith we see in Jesus, whose birth we celebrate? My prayer for all of us is that we choose to enter this new year with a commitment to more closely align our lives, our words, our actions, with those of Jesus, the Christ. Let us be bold enough to write down the values we learn from Jesus that we treasure the most and then, let us commit to living them every day.

I invite you to share your list of values with each other on our Facebook discussion page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2537147796511453/. Let these become the foundation of our prayer for one another as the page turns on the calendar and we continue our journey together.

My prayers are with you, that you may be transformed by the renewing of your mind, as you read God’s word and engage in walking a road together with those of us in the East District.

May peace be yours,

N Susan Brims Signature

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