My husband and I love giving Christmas gifts to our kids. We always get a kick out of watching them rip them open with warp speed. In our family’s tradition (surely established by an adult) we take turns opening presents by age, which is the only reason the opening gifts part of Christmas takes 10 minutes instead of 37 seconds. As long as the gifts are reasonably unrecognizable and they have names on them, everyone’s happy…
In the months and weeks leading up to Christmas our boys start writing their wish lists in hope their requests will be granted. And since we’ve always come through every year, the waiting is actually fun for them. The joyous anticipation builds to a fever pitch on Christmas Eve, and when we tuck them in to bed with smiles and giggles, it sometimes takes hours until they finally fall asleep. They fall asleep with excitement because they know they’ll wake up to find gifts under the tree especially for them. They don’t doubt us for a second or wonder if they’ll wake up and find nothing. I envision how sad it would be if our kids didn’t trust us. How disheartening if they went to bed worrying if Christmas would really come.
But they’re not the only ones who are eager for the morning. My husband and I are equally excited. In fact, I’d say Christmas is way more fun as a parent. We love giving to our children. It touches a very deep part of us; a part that was birthed in our hearts the moment they were born.
In all the fun of Christmas Eve, I can’t help but to imagine God’s excitement about the gifts He has for us. Unfortunately, I’m not as trusting as His child. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I went to sleep in a happy fit just waiting for God to reveal His gifts to me. I wonder if that makes Him sad.
The truth is we all have unwrapped gifts in front of us right now. Some we’ve opened and some we haven’t seen yet. Some gifts are in the process of being wrapped and it’s not time to open them yet. Some gifts God gives us even when we don’t ask, but He knows what we’ll need a little further down the road. He knows we don’t always know the right thing to ask for, but His goodness covers our lack of perspective.
Unfortunately, some of us are in so much pain we’ve stopped looking for gifts. We’re focused on the losses, the wounds, and the grief that rocks our hearts.
No matter what trials we face on this Christmas Eve, God has already given us the precious gift of life, and the promise of His peace and presence (Hebrews 13:5). The awesome fruit (gifts) of the Spirit to us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control (Galations 5:22,23). We have access to those gifts every moment of the day. He’s with us every step of our journey whether we realize it or not. His gifts are always available to us.
And the Bible tells us when this life is over we get to unwrap the greatest gift of all: eternal life in heaven where there will be no more tears, no more struggle, no more uncertainty, and no more pain. Our friends won’t get breast cancer, our fathers won’t have a stroke, our grandparents won’t get Alzheimer’s….and our mothers won’t have brain cancer.
We’ll be home where we belong.
Until that day comes, may our eyes be open to everything good that God has already lovingly placed in front of us. May we honor and cherish the gift of family and friends, strangers, and soon to be friends. In the midst of our grief and struggle, may we open the gift of Jesus every day, and may His power and love prepare, guide, and sustain us for the work and fulfillment He had planned for us from the beginning.
May we open our hands to receive the good gifts He has wrapped and ready for us, and may we go to sleep tonight with the excitement and trust of a child.
Merry Christmas to you.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Romans 10:13
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.” John 3:16