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The Gift of the Shepherds

This Christmas I was looking at our Crèche, and realized that our American culture gives a lot of attention to the gifts of the Magi, and adopted the idea of giving gifts of form as our model for gift giving to our loved ones and friends at Christmas time.

We don’t hear too much about the gifts of the shepherds, but the gifts of the shepherds are eternal, while the kings’ gifts will all disappear in the world of form. The gifts of the shepherds were faith, love, devotion, gratitude and joy.

When the angel announced to them in the field that the Savior was born in Bethlehem, they had faith. They believed. The Jews had been waiting for one sent from God. And so they went to Bethlehem in great haste to find the “babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)

When there they told Mary of the angel’s announcement, and went to bless the child with their love and devotion, not physical gifts. Feeling loved creates a memory that lasts forever.

It’s important that we feel it. We are told that God loves us. All of us. But then we don’t believe it when life seems to deliver us bad news, or worse, we do something that we feel horribly guilty for. We aren’t loving ourselves, so how can God?

God’s love is Holy Love. He created us to be a perfect, loving spiritual being as Himself, and that will never change.

Oh our personalities that reflect what we’ve been taught through our senses, including what people tell us, can cloak our spiritual selves. But they can’t change who we are eternally … thank goodness.

Jesus knew that. He wanted us to remember Him in the faces of all we see. He taught “… you are gods” quoting Psalm 82:6 “… You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you …” All of us.

I love to hear Dolly Parton talk about her childhood days stating how poor her family was, not having many things. However, they were all happy because they had a house was full of love! And the children thrived.

And here’s some good news. We are all millionaires in the love finance department. We can’t run out of it. We can choose to withhold it, but whenever we want to love again, the assets are there.

My middle child was mentally developmentally delayed. She was unable to work, and had very little to give in the world of form. But I saw her transform people when she hugged them, smiled at them, giggled with them, and wrote simple notes to them.

I was reduced to tears when at her life celebration people came up to share “Mary stories.” Her love was still with them, although her form was gone. It helped me with my grief knowing that her love was still alive.

I work near where there are many homeless people, and have seen how they care for each other. Oh, there are some who don’t, and some who are even mean to others.

But a mean person won’t usually tangle with a person who in the company of friends who care for him. These folks are often willing to share what little they have of things, with others. These people are rich in love.

We will never know if or how the shepherd’s love for infant Jesus gave His infant mind reassurance that He would be heard in the future. But a gift of sincere love is always received eventually. Love exists beyond time.

The shepherds were grateful that the promised Savior had come, and they left glorifying and praising God.

Many psychologists these days are touting creating gratitude journals for people in depression. And often it is suggested that they offer thanks or appreciation to someone who did something that made a difference in their lives. It just might make someone’s day. We all need to feel appreciated.

Peace to you dear ones, in all that you do. You are all rich. Don’t feel that your gift of love is unworthy. It will outlast even gold!

May all your seasons be bright, full of love, and have great meaning for you.

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Annaleah Atkinson is a resident of Kauai and a former columnist of The Garden Island
Source: The Garden Island

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