While sitting at my younger brother’s house in St. Louis, I chatted with nine-year-old Jordan and five-year-old Logan about everything and nothing, quietly typing away on my iPad. It didn’t take Mom and Dad long to figure out Aunt Jennifer was up to some surreptitious Christmas shopping on the sly for her two nephews. I successfully hunted on Amazon for the video game Jordan said he wanted and the cowboy outfit for precocious Logan, ideas cultivated out of their aunt’s sneaky conversation skills and the true desire to match a gift with their little personalities. I didn’t have to give them those things, I merely wanted to show them I loved them and to make their holiday a good one.
It made me think of how God often does that in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 12, we read about the “spiritual gifts” or “charismas” given to us. The word charisma itself speaks to the wonderful and yet unsought nature of these gifts, “karis” in Greek meaning “grace”. These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, endowed to each of us so that we can have the joy of benefiting others. There are many listed in the Bible in various places, everything from prophecy, to words of wisdom, to teaching. The list may sound daunting, but in reality it isn’t. They are the tools each of us has been given to help those around us, to help bring the grace of God into the world. They our gifts so that we can work in God’s kingdom here on earth and by doing so, show the world his deep and abiding love.
Each of us has different gifts, some can speak, and others can teach, and others may simply just show love to each other. No gift is greater than the other, but each in its way is a blessing upon the world. Whatever your gift, let it shine this advent season, show the world the grace of God as we prepare to celebrate his coming.
Jennifer Wolfe is a self-confessed church history nerd and all around geek living in Monrovia, California. Formerly of both Hampton, Virginia and Milan, Missouri, she is a graduate of both UCLA and Fuller Theological Seminary and currently works at Azusa Pacific University while she attends Claremont Graduate University as a Ph.D. student. She loves to write, sing, do nerdy activities like playing RPG and table top games, cooking, and traveling.