Well, we successfully navigated through another Christmas. We fought our way through shopping malls, found parking spaces at the outer edge of the known universe, endured or enjoyed time with extended family and we opened gifts. Now be honest, how many of us will be re-gifting our Chia pets?
My wife and I make it a practice of trying to understand each of our four kids and find gifts that are specific for them – gifts that hopefully speak to a real interest and desire in their lives. Even when they were little, the toys we picked we picked with their unique personalities, talents and interests in mind. How successful we were you will have to ask them. I don’t think we are any different from any other parent. Each parent wants their kids to know they are loved and that we want the best for them, that we want to bless them the best we know how with whatever means we have. And giving gifts is one way we do that. I just think this is what parents do. But even in this we are really just reflecting the heart of our Father. Listen to how Jesus explained it:
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)
Do we really think that God would pull a bait-and-switch on us? I don’t think so. He is looking to give us good gifts. This doesn’t necessarily mean monetary gifts but gifts that are eternal in value. In the book of Acts Peter reminds us that the Holy Spirit is given as a gift to any who believe in Christ (Acts 2:38). Paul tells us that we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). And listen to this:
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:7)
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1Peter 4:10)
So we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. We receive grace as a gift. Not only that but we have received individually customized gifts to use for His glory as we serve one another.
My point is simple. God the Father has a parent’s heart. He wants good for His kids. He looks to bless us as we draw close to Him. He gives to us the very best He has – and that is saying something. He knows us individually, personally. He knows what we need, when we need it, how we need it and why we need it. And His goal is always to bless us and glorify Himself. Now I will admit that I don’t always understand it. Sometimes I fail to see the point of what He is doing, but at those times I go back to what I know about Him and His love for me. His love is constant, unchanging and I look for the good gift from Him.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)
So maybe we didn’t get everything we wanted for Christmas or maybe we got that very stylish Christmas sweater, but we can be sure of one thing: every day from now until next Christmas, we can count on a good Parent expressing His parent heart toward you and me.