Divine ‘signs’ bring wonder of Christmas to down-home level

The biblical Christmas story includes many signs and wonders. Ironically, I have received divine signs at Christmas that have left me wondering.

In what I describe as the world’s weirdest baby shower, “Magi from the East” brought three symbolic gifts to Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold was a typical gift given to a king. This was a sign that Jesus is the “King of Kings.” As queen of my house, I would love to receive a gold gift. However, my husband has a gift-giving defect.

Despite this, I believe he is the most wonderful man in the world. He is patient, loving and forgiving, as well as handy and domestic.

His biggest spousal flaw is the inability to give an appropriate gift. Last year, my one and only gift from him was a yoga mat wrapped in a garbage bag. No, I’m not kidding. It was not nearly as bad as receiving a scale to weigh myself just weeks after giving birth. In his defense, he heard me say I wanted to lose the baby weight, but I didn’t have a scale. It wasn’t a hint.

I think God is using my husband to help me realize that the gift of Jesus is “the reason for the season.” I am mindful of that, but this year I really want a Kindle wireless reading device. I promise to download the Bible before any other book or newspaper.

The second gift represented Jesus as the “High Priest” because priests burned frankincense to create a smoky perfume in the temple. For the past three Advent seasons, I have accidentally set things on fire in the sanctuary of my church.

The first incident was during a Christmas memorial service for people who lost loved ones. I hugged a grieving teenager while holding a candle and lit her hair on fire. The associate pastor quickly extinguished the flame with the palm of his hand. Nobody was injured, but she went with the layered look after that service.

The next year, while helping a few kids with the “lighting of the advent wreath,” I caught the ribbon and a few plastic evergreen needles on fire. Then, last year at the Christmas Eve candlelight service, I set my bulletin on fire while singing “Silent Night.”

I’m thinking this is the fire of the Holy Spirit reminding me that we all have unique gifts. Therefore, I’m going to leave the open flame ministry to 8-year-old acolytes.

Myrrh was an embalming oil, which symbolized Jesus’ death on the cross. On Christmas day in 2007 and in 2009, we were plagued with vomiting and felt like death. Last year my son was so excited, he puked at my parent’s house. While cleaning it up, I puked, then my husband took over, and he puked. Two years prior, we all had a stomach virus that began with my son puking in the car an hour from home.

Opening gifts is impossible when you’re hugging a toilet, so I believe God was judging us for our materialism.

Just like that first Christmas, God still speaks through signs and wonders. This year, I’m wondering if those signs could come in another form.

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