What Can You Give Jesus for His Birthday? A Big Ole Basket of Fruit!

What Can You Give Jesus for His Birthday? A Big Ole Basket of Fruit!

I know, I know … every year, we are reminded that, with all of the mutual gift-giving, we forget that it is the baby Jesus’ birthday. But, it’s true! While we try our best to give the perfect gift(s) for our loved one(s) (which is a beautiful thing), we are left wondering what the perfect gift would be for the “Birthday Boy, Jesus.”

Well, let’s think this through … while the wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh – which is nice – we should really be thinking about … What does Jesus “really want” from each of us. To answer that, we need to contemplate why He was born into the world.

We could just give the standard flippant response to that question: “He came that all may be saved,” then go our merry way. But, what does that really mean? For sure, it is to gain our heavenly reward. But, what about our time here on earth? What does Jesus want?

In essence, Jesus wants to “empower” us in order that we “bring Him” to the world. This “power” is called “grace.” It is a supernatural strength that, very simply, makes “doing the good and right things” easy, and “doing bad and sinful things” more difficult. So, yes, Jesus wants to save the world, but He has chosen to do so through us. Jesus wants to draw all men to Him through us.

You see? What often happens is that folks get duped into believing that, if we “punch the clock” (fulfill obligations), our ticket is punched for heaven. After that, we just try our best to avoid lying and cheating and stealing and killing, and we are good to go. This is not a “life in Christ,” but “fulfilling a job description.” And, it misses the whole point of what “supernatural grace” is for.

So, what’s up with this “grace thing”?

While I know I’ll probably lose half of my readers with a reference to a 1980s commercial, I can’t help myself ūüėČ . Wendy’s ran a series of very popular commercials whose theme was: “Where’s the beef?” (see video below). The point was that they contended that most fast food restaurants used a lot of externals in making their sandwiches, but had very little of it’s essence: The beef.

Do we focus upon the externals of our faith, but show very little of its essence? “Where’s the Grace”? Or, in other words, “Where’s the Fruit” of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us? Where’s the “evidence” that we are filled with God’s supernatural grace?

If we are not “extravagantly” exuding the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, there’s a very good chance we have allowed our faith to devolve into “showing off” the externals of our faith, for all to see. See how I go to church? See that I am to be respected for “practicing my faith”? This, while we keep our neighbor at arms length – a manageable distance – and look for others to lift us up, rather than the reverse. And, worse yet, we can inject the poison of our pride into relationships, rather that the spiritual nutrients of the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

St. Paul gives us keen insight into what “Life by the Spirit” should look like:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.¬†For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‚ÄúLove your neighbor as yourself.‚Ä̬†If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

 

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:13-26).

This Christmas, and throughout the year, let go of your need to, pridefully, “win the argument” with family and friends (avoid politics, this Christmas!) but, instead, “win the soul.”¬†If all you can offer is “externals” (Look at me! I go to church!), while you continue to inject the poison of discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, etc. … you have failed to serve the Lord (Win the Soul), and you are only serving yourself.

This Christmas, and throughout the year, believe in and get in a “state of grace!” (Go to Confession!). Then, be “totally extravagant” in exuding the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit” from within you (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).¬†So much so that they will ask: “What Did You Find?!?!” You see? This is what real evangelization looks like. BE ATTRACTIVE! While memorizing and repeating scripture passages is impressive, and may serve a purpose, at times, people want to encounter something that is “authentic”; something that is “real.” If they do see that this “Life by the Spirit” is real in you, then you will have “won the soul for Christ.”

So, there is no greater gift we can give the baby Jesus on Christmas Day than a big ole basket of “Fruit” … the Fruit of the Holy Spirit exuding from within you!!! In fact, vow to give this “evidence” of His life in you, throughout the year!

Ask yourself, this Christmas: “Where’s the Fruit”?