When our son was about three I used one of those 35 pound ‘home video’ cameras perched on my shoulder to catch him opening his Christmas gifts. He sat on the floor and opened several toys which he piled in front of him.
Next came a flat box, which, when the wrapping paper came off, revealed a box with no pictures or diagrams on it. He was far too young to recognize that he was about to receive clothes! He lifted the lid, studied the contents for several seconds and then quietly pushed this gift to the side and behind him.
I believe he learned this behavior from his father.
Over the years I’ve handled some of God’s gifts in the same way. Those that caught my eye, appealed to my immediate whims, were flashy with promise of enjoyment … those I kept close. Then came an unadorned box with a gift of no apparent value to my immediate joy. It was less than just ordinary.
In my immaturity I couldn’t see any use for it in my life. I literally didn’t want it.
But I eventually began to understand that God often gives us ‘gifts’ that although given now, aren’t fully opened until some time later. Scripture reminds us that “every good and perfect gift comes from above … from the Father.” (James 1:17) Sometimes what appears as an imperfect gift is meant to perfect us.
God has more in mind for us than making us happy!
When we sit down to a Christmas meal and give thanks for it, we realize that we are not only to be thankful for the candied sweet potatoes, whipped cream based fruit salad and pecan pie a la mode. Man cannot live by sugar alone.
No, our thanks must include things that aren’t sweet but are nutritious.
We must learn to accept God’s gifts that make us better, not just feel better. He places ‘gifts’ under our tree that produce patience. Others when opened build empathy for others. We begin caring more. Still others don’t offer the thrill of a carnival ride, but peace at a level that we desperately need.
Remember, God doesn’t give us every toy we’ve circled in the catalog. He’s got presents of things we really need, not just crave.
So, reach around behind you and grab that box of clothes. You’re going to look great in them!
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father
give good gifts to those who ask him.”
Matthew 7:11 New Living Translation
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