A Broken Gift

Matthew 2

10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

Mark 14

3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

From the moment He entered this world as a tiny baby in a manger, Jesus' presence brought a desire for giving gifts.

Wisemen travelled many, many miles to place their gifts at Jesus' feet. Not simply new swaddling clothes, blankets, rattles, or bibs.

No, they brought gifts fit for a King. Gold. These wise men knew Who Jesus was!

Years later, a woman who was shunned by many because of her sinful past, found herself at Jesus' feet pouring out what could have easily been her life's savings. An alabaster jar of expensive perfume. She knew Who Jesus was!

I especially love Mark's account of this story, because he adds the detail that she broke the jar at Jesus' feet. I can just hear the words to one of my favorite songs, "Broken and Spilled Out..." playing in my head.

I think all of us who claim the name Christian desire to place gifts at Jesus' feet.

Sometimes being able to give what God desires means that we may have to be broken first.

That hurts.

But something happened about a month and a half ago that made me realize that being broken is okay.

As a Christmas gift, several of my friends and their daughters (Olivia's friends) went together and bought me the Willow Tree Nativity Set.

The night that I found out that I was receiving this gift was just a couple of weeks after losing Nick, and I was having such a hard night, trying so hard to stay focused on the "big picture" of life.

See, as Christmas was quickly approaching Mary was on my heart in such a huge way. I kept thinking of how she was called "blessed" and how she was "chosen" to be the mother of Jesus. And then I thought of the pain and loss she would eventually face and I wondered, "Did she really know what was coming as she held her baby boy close to her side surrounded by farm animals and straw?"

And then I also wondered what her life was like after Jesus was gone.

The Bible doesn't really talk about her grief.

Anyway, I love Mary more than I ever have. I feel a kindred spirit connection with her. And the nativity scene is something I have always loved.

The Willow Tree nativity set was one I had always adored from a distance, but I never thought I would actually be be able to have as my very own. My friends had no idea that this was something I had always loved.

So the night I found out about the gift, I cried.

I felt like God was reminding me that like Mary, I truly was blessed to be the mother of Nick, even though I had to let him go for now.

And then..........

Something else happened that made this nativity set even more special.

The "old" me wanted to go home and quickly get it all set up, but we were leaving for Oklahoma the next morning and I had so much to do.

I just knew that in my rush I might break something.

So, I placed all the boxes in my closet and couldn't wait to get back from our trip and open up all the different pieces!

When I did, I sat on the floor and very carefully opened each figure one by one.

As I was taking out one of the wise men, his hands and the "gift" he was holding fell on the floor in front of me. They had broken in the box.

At first, I thought, "Oh, I'll ask the girls if I can exchange it." But the more I sat and looked at the little figurine, his hands gone, arms lifted up, wanting to give Jesus something but unable to, the more I fell in love with this very wise man.

So, I decided to fix him myself!

I carefully placed very strong glue on a toothpick and had to balance the piece just right in my sock drawer for a day so that the broken part could bond with the arms. When I turned it over, you could see a line where the break had occurred and some signs of
glue that had squeezed out the edges.

And I thought to myself.......

Wise man, you are me!!!!! Arms extended. Wanting to give something to Jesus. But showing signs of brokenness and an effort to heal.

I hadn't written about this but thought I would one day, and then last night as I was walking up to Olivia's room to take pictures during her little fashion show (she was trying to decide what to wear to Nick's dinner), I stopped and took some pictures of the nativity set and of my favorite wise man.

The amazing part came when I sat down in Olivia's room to straighten her hair and she had on a Point of Grace CD. I was just about to change it to one of my favorite songs when Olivia said, "Oh, let's listen to this one first. It's really good."

As I sat and listened it was all I could do not to cry.

You can listen to it here but you'll have to scroll down and pause the "blog" music first.

Wow! I knew God was saying, "It's time to share your story about your wise man!!"

It's time to begin healing, but you will always have a scar....and

That's okay...

I believe that my wise man was suppose to be broken when I opened the box. I believe I was suppose to keep him with his broken arms.

I believe it was all part of God's plan.

And as much as it grieves my heart to say this,

God knew Nick was going to leave this world early. He wasn't shocked. He has a plan.

And I have a scar.

Trying to Heal so that I Can Give,


Blogger Paula (SweetPea) said...

This is absolutely beautiful, Tammy. So very profound and powerful. Oh my. So many lessons, so many words from God in all these actions...the gift secretly desired, the brokenness, the story kept for this long, the song...all of it. I think one of the most amazing parts to me is that no one knew your desire to have this treasured nativity and they bought the entire thing for you. Wow. I know a friend of mine is getting one piece a year for Christmas.

Just a beautiful story and beautiful message.

It's something indescribable when we step back and then of how God knew before Nick was born he'd pass too young. God knew before I was born, I'd find and have the love of my life (on earth) and would lose it (temporarily only God willing.

I think about the people who've died from salmonella in peanut butter. I thought last night, why? I mean, old age, a car accident, plane crash, a disease even, but peanut butter. It makes no sense. Thus, the reason I just very rarely EVER listen to the news. It fills my mind with things I cannot comprehend. I don't want to be angry at God yet I find myself totally confused on why He allows some things that seem so unnecessary or ridiculous. I try not to think about bad things happening to good Christian.

Actually, if I may say quickly to end this novel (hehe)...one of my devotionals by email is looking at Psalm 76 and how bad things happen to Christians and good things happen to "bad" people. It's very enlightening. They've been writing a daily devo on it for about a week now and I've stored them in folder.

Love ya,
sorry for the book

Blogger Trish said...

Oh Tammy, the way you spill out your heart just makes me want to hug you through this screen. The way you see everything in a fresh light is so inspiring to me. Remember when you see your wiseman with his broken arms and scars of glue... that Jesus had scars, too. I see them as battle wounds. And they are proof that healing does happen. Scars don't appear overnight, they take time to appear. But they remind us of what we've overcome. And even though we may be scarred and broken, God can still use us! Thank you for sharing your story and blessing my heart yet again. I love you.

Blogger Tricia said...

That is just an absolutely wonderful post! I have goosebumps... how wonderful that you are letting God work in and through your brokenness, and how even more wonderful that He has blessed you with a precious visual reminder.

I so admire your faith and devotion to our Lord, thank you for being transparent...

And I love that song by Point of Grace... I heard it for the 1st time a few months ago and it is a favorite... it ministers to me each time I hear it.

I have shared your blog with an aunt and uncle and their daughter in law, their son, her husband, recently committed suicide... I thought your blog would be a source of encouragement and help to them... thank you for sharing!


Blogger Patti said...

Dear Tammy - how you can put into words the many ways God works in your life to help you 'see' is simply amazing. Thank you for sharing.........and teaching. Sending lots of love, always.

Blogger Kim said...

Even in our grief he teaches us and uses us. HE used you again today to speak to me.

blessings and strength for this day,

Blogger Kathryn said...

Tammy, I stumbled across your blog while at the internet cafe, and I was blessed by your posts.

God is so glorious to create something beautiful and unique from our jagged and broken pieces, and, yes, He has an amazing plan for each of our lives! On this side of heaven, we may not understand it, but we can be sure of it.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Love, Joy, Grace, and Peace in Him,

Blogger Stacy said...

Dear Tammy, I am being so blessed by reading through your blog. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to allow God to use you as such a means of encouragement. You and your family are in my prayers.

In Him,

Blogger Luanne said...

Tammy--you are giving, and you don't have to be completely healed before you do.

And the beauty of it all is that as you give--you heal, and as you heal, you give.


Blogger Jennifer said...


Today is Sunday...so hoping that last night's event was everything you were praying for - can't wait to hear about it. Have been thinking about you this weekend. Sending you hugs - and lots of love, Jennifer

Blogger Bonita said...

Tammy, I haven't been around to visit blogs in a long time and didn't know that Nick had passed. I'm so sorry...

Blogger Barb said...

How beautiful.

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