Trash to Treasure


After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was-the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11

The wise men offered gifts to Jesus. And so, the focus of Christmas shifts from what God gave men, to what men can offer Him. The Magi opened up their treasures to pull out gold, frankincense and myrrh. But what about us regular folk who don’t have a surplus supply of these highly valued substances lying about. Where, then, shall we find treasure fit for a King? And so, God’s word sheds light as Matthew 12:35 tells us where lies our treasure… a good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things.

What then, shall I say to this? Because at least once a week you’ll hear me mutter “crap” when things do not go accordingly. Does this mean that my heart is filled with crap because of what comes out of my mouth? Why doesn’t a song of praise fill my heart and bless the ears of all those in my company? Most likely, there’s no song of praise because it’s been covered up by the refuse (or crap) that surrounds it. For more often than not, complaint and bitter and other various negative feelings permeate my heart. And unfathomably, despite all that God has done for me, it appears my heart is a storehouse of trash, rather than treasure.

What then, shall I offer the King? If all that I contain is trash, would my gift be acceptable? And contemplating this, I have to think yes. Because Christ came for everyone… especially those who have trash. If I turn to the King in all sincerity, and offer Him all that I have, which is trash, I believe He would receive my gift. And because He is in the business of transforming souls, why, I believe He could take my trash – the baggage, the mistakes, the flaws, and the imperfections – and make something beautiful out of it. I think He could turn my trash to treasure. If I dare let Him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

And so, I dare. This year for Christmas, I offer myself to Jesus. Because I have a heart full of belief that He will make something beautiful out of the mess of my life.


This is what I look like on the outside. It’s how I look before I cover up with make-up. I’m not happy that my nose is crooked or that my skin is flawed and beginning to sag. In truth, I have never been satisfied with the way I look. Honestly, I’ve felt ugly more than pretty, and have always struggled with feeling less than, insecure, insignificant and second-rate. And so, I do my best. I usually overcompensate. Before walking out the door, I cover up what I can.

Then, there’s my inside. I have more bad days than good, and am usually a mess. I fight depression, which I now know to be the side-effect of perfectionism. My house stays nice one or two days a week, but usually resides in a state of chaos. Yes, sometimes my counter is covered with dishes and laundry is heaped to the ceiling. Like yesterday. I overeat. I let curses fly at least once a month when my computer acts up. I let things totally, utterly consume me and I care way too much about what people think. I get completely frustrated with my son at least once a day. Raising him has been a struggle, and overall, I feel like a failure as a mother. I can be bitter. And this is just what I can think of right now. There’s more… so much more. And this? This is my treasure? This is what I can offer Him?

Yes. If it’s all I have, yes. Because what will Jesus do with gold and frankincense and myrrh? For those substances are already treasure. And He who is our treasure hardly needs more. No, what He desires is someone who is imperfect. Perhaps a woman with a crooked nose on the outside and bitterness on the inside. And that’s me. Flaws and all. For when I come to Him and lay myself at His feet, He accepts me. When I finally have those moments when I can’t stand myself another minute, and try to turn… from me and all my trash to Him… He takes me. He accepts my gift. He takes my trash. For it’s all I have to offer.

You know… I don’t step out of the house until I take certain measures. I use make-up to cover up the things I don’t like about me and use a hot curling iron in an attempt to coax my hair into unnatural waves… and this takes time. The end result isn’t great, but to me, I look better than I did.


And so, I realize that it will take some time for my insides to get ready, too. For it’s Christ who’s being formed in me. And ever so slowly, over time, I rid myself of such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. I try not to lie to another soul as I take off my old self with its practices. And I put on my new self, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created me. I clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, and bear with others as I forgive, for Christ forgave me. And above everything, I put on love, which binds all these together in perfect unity (from Colossians 3). And then, I am ready to face the day.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Me alone, I don’t house much treasure. But because He lives in my heart, there is something of value. And over time, more of Him begins to shine through for the heat of His light coaxes my insides to form curls of virtue that at first feel unnatural. And then, as Christ is formed in me, I become more and more beautiful in His sight…


The Magi offered Jesus treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh because they were able to do so. And Christ accepted their gifts. Me? My treasure is different. And as His light begins to burn brighter than all my darkness, my trash diminishes leaving behind only treasure… my gift to the One who is treasure already.

Three Wise Men and One un-Wise Woman


“I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel…” Numbers 24:17

What makes one wise? According to Wikipedia (my new best friend), wisdom is the application of knowledge gained. And today, rather than being filled with wisdom, it’s folly that saturates my soul. Or, staying true to my inner perfectionist, I shall be overly-critical and say what I’m really thinking. I am foolish. An utter fool. Simply, in my travels to a spiritual Bethlehem, I fail to act on that which God reveals to me. Namely, leaving perfectionism behind. Like a dog with a bone, I hold to that which consumes me. And rather than me gnawing on it, it gnaws at me. When there’s something I want to do, perfectly, it absolutely consumes every bit of my brain… leaving little room for anything else.

Two weeks ago I set my course for the Star of Jacob, and I knew exactly where I was headed. My writing of December 6 reminds me of my singular focus, “… as God’s word guides my way, the goal becomes clear in my sight… Jesus.” Yes, eyes straight ahead and He was my focus. He was the goal. But alas, I am a perfectionist to the core and ambitious to boot. And so, I set a second goal. You know, nudging the bar a tad higher. I thought what a great idea to blog this entire journey. However, one step led to another, and before I knew it the bar was so high I could barely see it. For I fully expected to reach Jesus, find a Christmas heart along the way, and write the complete Christmas story throughout my pilgrimage. And when I say write about Christmas, I mean all of it (to include creation, promises made to Abraham, the exodus of Israel, the Law, sin and Christ’s death and resurrection.) Oh, I was sure I could easily accomplish this grand feat. But you know what… today, I realize I can’t. I just can’t. For in truth, I am not perfect. And it took me nearly all of yesterday to figure that out.

But today is a new day. And through the story of the wise men, my hope is renewed. For their Christmas journey surely lasted more days than my fourteen. And eventually, the Magi did reach their destination.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. Matthew 2:1-2

The Magi, which means “wise men,” were likely astrologers who studied the signs of the times and stars. And I can only imagine the depths of knowledge that each one housed, stored up through a lifetime of observation. And because they were always watching and waiting, the Magi noticed when something extraordinary occurred. For there appeared to them a star, a new star, that outshone all the others. And leaving everything behind, they set their course by a bright light in the sky. These men knew the meaning of the star, and so, they acted wisely in venturing out. And their pilgrimage took them towards Jerusalem as they sought the King of the Jews. Upon arrival in the bustling city, King Herod gave them audience, which was the custom of the day. But their goal had not been attained, as this was not the true King they sought. And so, they kept searching…

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On 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, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

Oh, there are several reasons these men were wise. But today, like a star, one outshines the others. For what is wisdom but the application of knowledge gained. And these men had knowledge, an entire storehouse of knowledge. But more importantly, they applied what they knew to their lives. For with the appearance of a star, the Magi became singular in focus. For the star indicated the birth of a King. And so, laying all else aside, they set their course for Him. And they didn’t stop until they reached their goal.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

There were three wise men (so says tradition). And they set their course by a star. We don’t know for certain how long their journey lasted. Some suggest six days beyond birth, while others say the Christ child was nearing two years old by the time they came to Him. But in truth, it really doesn’t matter how long it took them. What really matters is… they made it.

And there’s one un-wise woman. She set her course by the Star of Jacob. Oh, she may veer off course every now and then, which delays her journey. But that doesn’t really matter. What really matters is, His star still outshines the others. And His light still guides her.

And so… as God’s word guides my way, the goal again becomes clear in my sight… Jesus.