They get an unfair rap. I’m talking about the Puritans, a group of people who in so many ways put us to shame with the way that they preached, thought, studied, prayed, and committed themselves to Jesus Christ. One small yet powerful piece of fruit from the Puritans which lives on today is the collection of prayers based on Puritan writings, The Valley of Vision. On this Christmas morning where we celebrate the Incarnation, take some time to read, pray, and reflect on this prayer from The Valley of Vision, “The Gift of Gifts”. . .


What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
      thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
  my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
  his self-emptying incomprehensible,
  his infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
  he came below to raise me above,
  was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love;
  when I cannot rise to him he draws near on
    wings of grace,
  to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
  when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
  he united them in indissoluble unity,
    the uncreated and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
  when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
  and no intellect to devise recovery,
  he came, God-incarnate, to save me
    to the uttermost,
  as man to die my death,
  to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
  to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
    and enlarge my mind;
  let me hear good tidings of great joy,
    and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
    my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
    my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
  place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
    to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
    and in him account myself delivered from sin;
  let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
    to my heart,
  embrace him with undying faith,
  exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
    that heaven can give no more.

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