We are in the holiday season! The season for giving and receiving gifts. The lines at the store will get longer and longer. The holiday rush will start to build, the traffic will become more aggressive, and the advertisements will urge us to hurry! spend! don’t leave anything behind! (in your cart that is). All of it leading to one moment – Christmas Day.
And if you are like me, and you prefer to keep calm during the chaos, planning ahead so that you can give with intention and love, then you know that gift-giving during this season can be much deeper than what our modern society portrays.
This is the time to look to our Heavenly Father.
Not as adults in charge of the shopping. Nor as parents who plan the behind the scenes “magic” for our kids. But as children of God, each and every one of us. Children who have experienced God’s grace, His reckless love for us, His provision and His passion that neither you nor I can fully comprehend.
But let us try.
Imagine, you are a loving parent. Maybe you already are one. You know your children like the palm of your hand. Their peculiarities, their strengths, their weaknesses, what brings them joy, what makes them smile…
And before Christmas Day, you spend time thinking about them and what gift would make their eyes light up.
Perhaps you are the practical sort – you want to give them something they need. Not something they want, but a gift that would serve a purpose. It would benefit them in the long run.
Or perhaps, you’d rather give them something that they could learn from. An educational toy. Not just something with flashing lights and sounds, but something that will make an impact.
Or perhaps, you just want to see them smile. It brings you JOY imagining what they might do or say when they rip open the wrapping paper and the surprise is revealed.
No matter what kind of parent you may be, your gift is given with love. Overwhelming love for this child who you’ve raised and wish only the best for. Now think of our Father in Heaven. Does He not also give to us in the same way?
Sometimes His gifts are exactly what we need. The Lord provides. He hears our prayers and see’s our needs and answers our call.
Sometimes His gifts are not at all what we expected. Not the bright and shiny thing that we are striving after but experiences that teach us more than any earthly reward can.
And sometimes His gifts are to point us toward His Glory. He delights in seeing us find wonder in his beautiful creations.
Let’s go back to you again for a moment. It’s the big day and your child rips open the wrapping. She sees the thing that you spent so much time and love preparing.
But it’s not what she expected.
Maybe you’re lucky and she hides her disappointment. She thanks you for it. Big hug and kiss. And it gets put off to the side. Before you can say a word, another present is already in her hand, and she unwraps this new one with vigor.
How do you feel?
Maybe you try to hide your disappointment as well. But you make a mental note, “Okay… she doesn’t like Legos then…”, and when Christmas comes around the following year, you say to yourself, “Don’t get Legos this year. Last year, she didn’t like it and I haven’t seen her play with them at all.”
Unused gifts don’t create abundance.
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you1 Timothy 4:14
What would true gratitude look like? A child who loves and appreciates the gift they receive would be wrapped up in it, immediately getting to work with focus and joy. Instead of laying to the side, she would open the box and begin to play.
“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:15
A gift that is appreciated and used will be fruitful and create abundance. As a mother, I observe what my children find joy in, what their “work” is, and my gifts to them are always more of what they are already making the most use of. I can’t help but think that perhaps our Heavenly Father observes us in this way too.
The Lord has given you a gift.
Gifts from God
These are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.Ephesians 4:11
These spiritual gifts are not just for pure wonder. An appreciative glance and then setting aside.
The gifts of our Father are for our full attention, for us to get to work on, for us to serve others with, for us to do His work.
As a believer in Jesus Christ and a precious child of God, you have been given a gift. A beautiful gift, full of wonder but also full of work. Will you toss it aside? Or will you show true thanks and put it to use?
This season, I encourage you to take a breath away from the shopping bustle and thank the Lord for the gift he has given you.
If you are feeling unsure of what spiritual gift you were given or if you are feeling uninspired, ask the Lord for direction.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within mePsalm 51:10
Sometimes all it takes is the parent opening the box of Legos, sitting down with the child, and showing them how to play. Our Father desires that relationship with us. He has plans for you and the spiritual giftings He has given you. Turn to Him in this season of giving and let His light shine through.