by Ted Kyle
One night recently I dreamed a dream-though whether I was fully asleep or half awake, I know not. But in this fanciful condition, it seemed that I was looking for the perfect Christmas gift. And three choices were before me.
The first offered wealth beyond imagination to its owner, but it came with one condition: it must be given away to be of value.
The second seemed so rare and precious that it must be the perfect gift. It came in a costly alabaster container, but this bowl was merely the setting for the real gift offered: a balm which, when applied with faith, would bestow peace upon the user. Surely, this was the perfect gift-peace for the soul, no matter what the outward conditions might be. But, as Samuel was told to pass over Eliab, the eldest of Jesse's sons, in choosing a king for Israel, so even as I contemplated the inestimable richness of this second gift, my dream was interrupted by a passing fire siren.
And as the clamor and the clang of the fire truck grew louder and louder in my ears, I suddenly knew that it was envisaging the finest gift of all-for it incorporated within itself both of the previous gifts, yet was greater by far.
This gift was victory-victory over self, victory over Satan, victory over the world. And it came wrapped in a humble Babe, who grew to become a Teacher of a rag-tag group of followers. And as I watched still, this Teacher was put to death because of His teachings-for they were reckoned blasphemous.
But in His death and subsequent triumphant rising from the grave, This Teacher passed on to His followers the secret of eternal victory. And that secret-the finest gift of all-is eternal submission and obedience to the will of His Father and ours. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17).
The dream, if dream it was, passed-yet its passage was not to oblivion but to permanence in my heart. There it became a vision, a goal...I would almost add "shrine," for I keep coming back to it, to renew the urgency of my seeking. But a shrine it cannot be, for a shrine is a place where God is worshiped, and this is merely my own commitment to seek His face.
This much have I learned: God may be approached through a great upwelling of the Spirit of God in the human heart, but this single great event is not sufficient to satisfy either Him or myself for all time. No, to fully claim this gift, I must ever and again renew my first submission-and find again my first love. God wants all of me.
Just as He wants all of you.
Ted Kyle is managing editor of Pulpit Helps.