I have always loved books—especially beautiful children’s books. I love the Christmas holiday too, so a delightful children’s Christmas story is just my cup of tea! One of my favorite books is “Who is Coming to Our House?” by Joseph Slate. The story is told from the animal’s perspective as they busily prepare for Baby Jesus, who would soon come to their space. Each animal describes his/her contribution in preparing the house. The Ram dusts, the Chick sweeps, and the Goose stacks the hay and uses her feathers to make a soft bed. The horse nudges the door ajar, the Hen lays an egg, and the spider uses her talent to spin a new web. The peacock displayed his feathers, and the owl wisely uses his time watching for the Savior. The rat and cat just doubt it all.
There’s more but I’m sure you get the idea.
Mary and Joseph wearily appear, and all the animals say, “Welcome, welcome, to our house!”
I just love that the animals were so excited to welcome Baby Jesus. And to show their enthusiasm, they gave all that they could.
God gave us a pure, complete gift of love when He gave us His Son and we celebrate the gift of Jesus at Christmas. God doesn’t require a gift back. But because we love Him, we might wish we could give something.
But what can we give Him this Christmas?
The animals are a good example of what we can give to Jesus:
• Our Work. Whether our work is in the home or outside of it, our work becomes an act of worship when we praise God while doing it. We can praise Him for the house we have to sweep, the tools we have to perform our duties and the health to see it gets done.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
• Our Talents. God gave the spider the ability to create a delicate web. God has equipped us with gifts and talents too. Now we can use them to glorify God and point others to Him.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
• Our Time. The wise owl used his time looking for the Savior. Our wisdom comes from spending time in the Word of God.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. II Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
• Our Heart. Like the horse who nudged the door open, let’s open our hearts and surrender our attitudes, passions, and desires to Him. This is the ultimate gift. God wants our heart.
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
• Our Trust. Don’t be a doubter like the cat and rat. Let’s be intentional and decide to give God our trust in the coming year. Cast out doubt and believe that God is coming to your house to care for you!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
• Our Best. Resist mediocrity. The Hen gave her best. Let’s follow her lead and gave our very best…even if an “egg” is all we have to give. Let’s refuse the temptation to compare ourselves with others, believing their gifts are better.
May God give you the desire of your heart and fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4 (NKJV)
• The Glory. The peacock presented his beautiful colors in anticipation of King Jesus. He spread his beauty to glorify Him. Let’s glorify Him by shining brightly the love of Jesus Christ, in all that we do and say.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
Yes! We can give these gifts to God this Christmas– and beyond!
Welcome, welcome, to our house!
Debbie is co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with The Polished Conference. She is the author of one Bible Study, “Shine! Radiating the Love of God,” available at Grace-publishing.com or amazon.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” For more information visit her website: www.debbiepresnell.com or visit her page on facebook: shineministriesnc. Contact her directly at email@example.com.
Book: 1988, by Joseph Slate. Pictures by Ashley Wolff. Published by Scholastic