Long Walk Part of Gift

Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:1 NIV).

An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day. “The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said.

When Christmas day came, the boy brought to the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked as she gently fingered the gift.

The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless.

“Why…why, it’s gorgeous…wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get a gift for me.”

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.”

I just love that story. During this holiday season, I watch as people scurry about swiping those plastic cards through the credit card machines faster than a speeding bullet. And yet, God has already shown us that the most precious gifts cannot be bought or sold. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

The magi also knew about the joy of giving. While they gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child, they also gave another gift…a long walk. We don’t know how far the magi traveled, but we do know that it was a distance that took months, perhaps years. Their long walk was part of the gift.

I wonder how far we are willing to go to worship Jesus…to bring our gifts to him. I wonder how far out of the way we will go to praise him. Do we only give to Him when it is convenient or easy? Or do we give what He wants most – a portion of ourselves, our very lives.

I think the little African boy had the right idea. The real gift wasn’t the shell; it was the sacrifice he had to make to give it.

Let’s Pray
Dear God, thank You for the gift You gave us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that I will keep gift-giving in perspective this holiday season and give gifts from the heart rather than the pocketbook. Help me to see that a “long walk,” or a portion of myself, is the greatest gift of all.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

What do You Think?
Describe a time when someone’s sacrificial gift meant a lot to you?

Describe the feeling you had when you gave a portion of yourself, such as your time, to someone?

Try to imagine the teacher who received the shell. What thoughts do you think came to mind when she looked at it year after year? Do you think it was the shell itself, or the heart of the boy who gave it to her, that meant so much?

Now, imagine how God looks at our gifts we give to Him? Do you think He reflects on the gifts themselves or the heart of the child who gives it?

What is one of the most memorable Christmas gifts you have ever received (other than Jesus). Let’s share on my blog page.Just leave a comment in the comment box under this devotion.

Want More?
It is easy to get caught up in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity and lose focus on what’s important. If you would like ways to keep Jesus the focus of your holiday season, check out my bookCelebrating a Christ Centered Christmas. It’s packed with helpful ideas and inspiration, and would also make a great Christmas gift. This book is officially out of print and I only have a few more copies left

21 Responses to Long Walk Part of Gift

  1. TerryB December 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    My most memorable gift is my iPad that my family gave me for my birthday, Christmas, and Anniversary this year. It was not a frivolous gift though some may think so, but it has been a huge aid in my job as a Service Provider for students with disabilities at a local Community College. God has truly blessed me with a loving family and a job that is more than a paycheck. Thank you, God!

  2. Karen December 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    I come from a large family. My grandfather was the youngest of nine children. His father died when he was two and his mother raised her family alone. Since he was one of nine, you can imagine how many children each of the nine had and then they had children and so on. Every year since way before I was born ALL of the family gathered to on Christmas Eve to celebrate. My great grandmother, had a gift for EVERY person there (which amounted to around 100 people). Not that the gift was huge, but it was the care and sacrifice that she made to make sure everyone received part of her heart. She took a small piece of red netting and wrapped either a silver dollar or two fifty-cent pieces and tied it up. I have these to this day. I never wanted to spend them because every time I looked at them I remembered the love in which they were put together and given. She has been gone for over twenty years, but I still have those little pockets of love.

  3. Leelee December 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    It was a sewing machine from my parents along with 6 weeks of lessons, it was totally unexpected and I always wanted to learn to sew, I just felt so special they chose and picked out that machine to surprise me with!

  4. Jane December 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    My youngest Son, age 12 at the time, gave me a precious, intricate piece of artwork that had me specifically in mind until completion. I love it. it means so much to me that I was thought of all along.

  5. Debbie Russell December 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Our son Brent arrived to our home yesterday for Christmas from Hong Kong. It was a total surprise. As a mom my most treasured gifts from God are my children,(and grandchildren).
    Thanking God for Brent’s “presence”, not “presents”.
    But most of all for God sending his “presence” in the form of a baby!
    Praise be to God our risen Lord and Savior.

  6. JENNY MILENA RIAÑO December 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    GRACIAS SHARON POR RECORDARME CUAL ES VERDADERO SIGNIFICADO DE LA NAVIDAD Y QUIEN DEBE SER EL CENTRO (JESUSCRISTO) DE ESTA FESTIVIDAD.
    DIOS TE BENDIGA.

  7. Michele Frye December 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    There are 2 gifts that I love and cherish….The first I wanted a long black wool coat similar to on that a friend had…..I went shopping downtown in several vintage shops and found one but didn’t get it. My husband, who always waits asked what I wanted. I told him I found a coat in a shop but couldn’t remember which one!! True! I described it and he found it! I was never more surprised! The 2nd was my 3 year old who spent months collecting his “treasures”—a button from the floor of a store, a little patch from clothing, the last lifesaver that was still at the bottom of the roll…. He would take these things out and admire all his finds once in a while. On Mother’s day my oldest gave me a gift he had made in school. Ian not having anything to give (my husbands not very good at the gift thing!) ran to his room and came back with his treasures!! He wrapped them in a piece of paper and told me they were now mine!! I LOVE the unselfishness of that gift and it still brings tears to my eyes!! I keep that wrapped gift in my jewelry box!

  8. Deb Anderson December 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    A memorable Christmas upon which I have been reflecting is one from when I was 5 years old. (I am now 59.) My mother’s family of nine siblings with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins were gathered at my grandparents farm to celebrate. I recall lying on the sofa at the end of the day, feeling drowsy and content. As I fell asleep, I heard the muffled voices of multiple conversations and laughter around me. Today, a house full of family and friends, with all the chaos, noise and energy involved, still settles a peace over my heart that reminds me of the peace of Christ.

  9. Nancy Beneteau December 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Hi Sharon
    So many gifts I can think of that fall in this category. I cherish every gift I get. I think the one that I remember the most is one from a co worker a few years back. She made these HUGE red wine coloured ornaments for me. They matched my theme of burgundy and gold just right. And yet again this year she has sent me something(not allowed to open it till Christmas)again that I am pretty sure is homemade. I have not seen her in a few years because we no longer work together. Facebook actually put us back into touch with each other. No matter what is going on with her, she always manages to send me her love and encouragement. She even bought Scout popcorn from my sons this year even though she lives 2 hours away! Her friendship in itself is a big gift. I Praise God for her all the time.
    Sharon, the gift of your devotions and books is an amazing gift. Merry Christmas and may you be showered with Many BLESSINGS in the new year.

  10. Linda cole December 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    My most memorable gift was when I was a little girl,and we lives way out in the country,it was snowing hard and I got to go with my dad and older Sister to a little country store about 5 miles away,I scooted up on the edge of the front seat so I could see the snow falling and the windshield wipers going back an forth,when we got to the store I found a bottle of prell shampoo and back in those days it had a pearl inside of it, my dad got it for me,in his eyes he got a pearl for his little ,girl!that was the best Christmas gift ever,I’m 56 now,and tho my parents are gone I still think about that little bottle of shampoo and that Winters nights trip

  11. Courtney December 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Memorable gifts: my dad gave me a framed wedding picture of him and my mom on their wedding date. She has been dead now 20+ years. And my brother-in-law gifted me a plot next to my husband in the family lot of the cemetery. That brought me to tears, because it was so very personal, and he remembered me asking when I had joined of the family and learned of the family plot, “Where will I go?”

    The best gift, though, as it’s a love language of mine, is time spent with another. A chat on the phone, or conversation over nachos beats anything wrapped in a bow. Every time.

    Merry Christmas to you.

  12. Ana Weisgerber December 21, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Hi Sharon,

    Thank you for the opportunity to share gifts that we have received and how it made us feel.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless brothers and sisters in the family of Christ for their gifts of creativity, time and energy so that I can receive good sound instruction.

    I have many teachers and they are the best of teachers of God’s word. They dedicate countless hours to prepare in order to teach sound biblical lesson to us (me).

    Some of my teachers I have never met in person, I listen to them online, television or read their books on my kindle. I want to thank them for their dedication. Others I do know in person and they are teacher from our congregation. Thank You for all your hard work to teach us the Word.

    I also want to thank friends from all over the world who have supported and loved our family. It has been quite a journey and we have learned from each other.

    I also would like to thank my family here and abroad who have sacrificed so much time money and energy to reach out to loved ones who needed their encouragement love and help. How special you have made me feel.

    What I have contributed in time and energy so that others could be helped or reached with the Gospel has been for the sake of Christ and for His glory. Giving in this way time, and energy so that others may hear about Christ it is what loves doing. All good that we do is for the hope that others may know Him.

    May all our family in Christ be blessed this Christmas with the joy of the Lord. Thank You for the time that you invest in sharing your wisdom and counsel with us. Blessings, Ana

  13. Simone December 21, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    The birth of my son eleven years ago and I thank Him for that gift every single day.

  14. ariyo ayorinde December 21, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Thank you sharon.the long walk part. Seems to be the greatest gift out of d gift the the school boy give her teacher.that remind me the precious gift my mum gave,a sweater durin my first time when I started work during raining periods she trevled all the way home,i appriciate the long part she traveled down to my place of work.

  15. dawn Shpudejko December 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Twelve years ago my parents gave me a beautiful picture of a woman sick in bed. A nurse, a doctor, and Jesus were at her bedside. Being a nurse myself , I had always loved this picture. That previous year I had struggled with returning to bedside nursing. Knowing this, my Mom sought out that picture as a confirmation for me. I still have it hanging in my bedroom. Not only does it show God’s love for me but also is a reminder how much my parents loved me.

  16. Ann December 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    We were very poor once and when Christmas cam around we had no money for gifts for each other. My husband saved enough (unknown to me) to get a little bird under glass and on Christmas Day he presented it to me.. How happy I was to get this and we kept it in a place of honor for many years..

  17. Lisa December 22, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    Just last saturday I received the best gift ever!! Let me take you back a little way though. My 15 year old daughter is a gymnast and has been struggeling for YEARS to “get” a back handspring which should quickly be followed by a round off back handspring. She sustained an injury about 3 years ago which have been her downfall in obtaining these skills. The injury was purely psychologjcal but very real non the less. We have sought highly expert professional help since then, in hopes of helping her past this horrible fear. She describes it as an overwhelming paralyzing fear. She has trained with multiple coaches since then (olympic hopefuls as well as coaches that have trained athletes who later went on to compete at the olympic level) pretty major professionals, to no avail. One coach in particular, Alex, a christian young man took an extra special intrest in this challenge and just 2 weeks ago (while home from a break as a professional performing gymnast) told me that he wanted to do a private lesson free of charge) and help her obtain these skils once and for all.

  18. Lisa December 22, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    She was terrified…I told her we would pray (over the next 5 days until the lesson) that the Lord would just take her fear away. When she arrived for her lesson she was completely fear free, although she did not aquire the skill during thd lesson,God delivered to her exactly what we’d asked for. She work hard over the next week (in her regular classes) and she managed to accomplish the skills. But she kept it a secret (just from me) and at her show last saturday she performed it in front of an audience of close to 100 people while I had no idea what was coming, many of the audience members did. I bawled like a chikd and am literally tearing up as I write this from the sheer joy that she brought to my life that moment as I watched her doing something that she has trained SO long and hard to accomplish and she gave me the gift of watching her do it for the 1st time as a Christmas gift from her to me….ths single most preciouz gift that any child could give. It was beautiful in a way that I cannot explain.

  19. Nancy-Dru Flowers December 22, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    The most memorable Christmas gift I received happened two years ago And after reading your article about the long walk, I can recognize what an honor this gift was to me. I was out of the country, visiting my Grandfather, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He was 92, and frail, but he was thoroughly enjoying that last years of his life in this most wonderful village. I was so excited that Christmas Day was almost here, and was hoping to see not only my family, but also the local church’s Christmas gathering. But the night before, on Christmas Eve, I began to have such intense pain and nausea. My worst nightmare had happened, I was passing a large kidney stone, and it wasn’t happening smoothly or quickly! The whole night I was drenched in sweat with pain and agony, and taking the strongest pain killer I could, I knew Christmas Day was over for me. I lay in bed, feeling horrible, and missing my family. My Grandfather called me, and when he heard how awful I was feeling, he got his strongest cane, and walked all the way from his apartment, and up the stairwell, and down the long hallway to the apartment my mother had let me stay in, and he found his path all the way to me! He just held me, rocked me and stroked my hair, and cried for me. I was so alarmed at the “long walk” he made for me, knowing his frail condition, that I decided to grab my blanket, dressed in my pajamas, and walked back down with him to his apartment, and just crawled into his bed, and let him take care of me for a day. His gift to me was more priceless to me than anything I had received before. Now, He is with the Lord, just a few months ago, and I treasure my Christmas Memory – His Long Walk for me.

  20. patrica December 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    My special gifts are my four daughters and fifteen grandchild that God has blessed me healthy and special in there own ways. Thank You Jesus for that and the things going on.

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