“Hey, you know that song?”
“Sorry. That one, ah, Christmas song that says ‘I have no gift to bring’? That one?”
“Sure. What about it?”
“Well, I don’t.”
My permanent sense of humor almost bit, but I heard no lightness or neutrality in his tone. It wasn’t a lure. He wasn’t being dark, not exactly, but bleak, accompanied by knitted eyebrows and slight grimness. I probed.
“Kidding, right?” I’d slanted my eyes sideways to sneak a glance at him. He wasn’t looking at me, but staring off into Someplace In A Galaxy Far, Far Away, a serious mien shadowing his face like happens when the sun is obscured by a cloud. Alrighty then. That’s a nope.
I work to keep learning. One way is to stop saying and/or writing, “I have learned”, because the period after ‘learned’ hints that I think I’ve nothing more to add to what I already know about whatever it is. Back when, I encountered a professor or two who exhibited that kind of arrogance. I didn’t like it then, and sure never want it interfering with my ongoing quest to know and grow more.
One of the things I keep learning is to better ‘get’ my friends. This one was seriously bugged about something. I wanted to know what it was. Therefore, I queried and listened.
“Talking about The Little Drummer Boy, correct?”
“Yeah. That’s the one.”
“And you’re telling me you have nothing to offer King Jesus.”
“Exactly. I got nothin’. Man, I look at all of you ( left arm in a wide, sweeping gesture ) and wish I had just a little of all the talent and ability I see in all of you when you’re worshiping. It’s like you don’t even have to try because it just flows . . .” Here his voice broke and I noticed he seemed to have something in his eye. Both of them.
I mulled, then I thunk a think. While doing that, I team-thought with the Holy Spirit. James says if we’re a bit skosh on wisdom, to ask for more. I did, and God spoke back.
“Exodus 4:2.” Nice. A little help, here? Exod— OH! I turned to my friend.
“What DO you got?” He looked at me like I’d just sprouted a Klingon ridge on my forehead. “What?“
“Do you remember when Moses was doing his best to whine his way out of being the Israelites’ head honcho, and God asked him, “What’s that in your hand? The lesson was, ‘This isn’t about you, Moses. I can work with, in, and through anything and anybody if they’ll let me—‘ His eyes switched from Dull to Interested and he nodded. “Yeah, I remember that.”
“Awright. You have something to give, too. What’s that in your hand?” He glanced down at the booklet he’d been holding in his left hand.
“Oh, it’s a training manual update I brought home to read over the weekend.”
Me: “Training for what?” (His response: “Safety. Security. You know, the usual stuff. There’s always a new wrinkle, because some jackwagon out there comes up with more creative ways to do bad things.”)
Me again: “And why is it in your left hand?” (“Because I’m right-handed and—-” Like a Great Plains wind gust pounding open a door, the light and sharpness popped back into his gaze.
“The little boy brought what he had and freely offered his best to Jesus, without staring at everyone else’s gifts, comparing their really great clothing to his own, and like that.”
“Nailed it. Just goes to show ya, guys like you really can string coherent thoughts together without tripping over them.”
“You wanna wear that piano?”
I grinned as I backed away. That was more like it. As we get up from our Thanksgiving tables and begin the jostling, breathless jog toward Christmas and 2020, remember to extend your gratefulness to include what God’s placed in your hand.
He may never need to ask you to pick up a snake by its tail to impress you about His ability to use anything or anyone. Hopefully, you’ll appreciate in new ways the unique manner in which God pours His grace and ability through your hands. Then, too, it’s really not good for your health record to pick up snakes by their tails.
So, what will you bring King Jesus this Christmas?
Your best. It will be enough.
He’ll see to it.
© D. Dean Boone, November 2019