One of the joys I had as a child was watching the bottom of the Christmas tree fill up with presents. It mattered little to me how many presents were addressed to me, just as long as there were plenty of colourfully wrapped gifts tucked away under the branches. In my eyes, each parcel was a treasure box. They held the mysterious potential of ‘maybe something glorious might be inside’! My younger siblings and I spent countless hours rearranging the gifts. If we accidentally shook a parcel in the process, it only added to the intrigue. “Maybe there are only socks in this box, but maybe it’s something wonderful disguised as socks!”
As we grew, each child was given the responsibility and privilege of wrapping the gifts we bought for each other. I fondly remember the shouts that echoed throughout the house as Christmas approached. “Who has the bows?” “Mom, I can’t find the end of the Scotch tape” “Get out here! I’m wrapping your gift! Mommy, he won’t get out of my room!” “Mom? How many ‘M’s are in Grandma?” “Mom, you are never gonna guess what I got you, you are gonna smell real good, and it cost a whole two bucks.” “Mom? What do you mean I’m driving you around the bend? I can’t drive yet!”
Although we purchased the majority of the gifts at a local discount department store, they were paid with precious pennies, nickels and dimes that were hoarded away over the course of several months. On occasion, we’d pool our money for a big purchase. The negotiations of these transactions rivalled major bank mergers. We understood the sacrifices that each gift cost the giver. We shovelled sidewalks and denied ourselves of browsing the candy counter at the corner store.
It would have been rather anti-climatic on Christmas morning if we left the gifts under the tree to gather dust. Imagine how crushing it would have been if a loved one dismissed our gifts with a cursory glance. How disappointing it would be for the giver to discover their gift sat unused on a shelf for safekeeping.
“God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” Augustine
Let’s recognize the gifts God has given us and that we would cherish them. I pray that we would have the grace to pause for a moment during our hectic day to contemplate the enormous sacrifice our Heavenly Father paid so that He could bless us with every good gift from heaven above. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” James 1:17 ESV
Father God, With thankful hearts, we recognise Your good gifts around us; the laughter of a baby, the warm hug of a friend and the helpful stranger who opens the door for us. We thank You for the friend who attentively listens as we pour out of hearts to them. We thank You for the friends who carry joy. We thank You for Your daily provision and that you sustain our bodies, souls and spirits. Forgive us for dismissing gifts that at first glance appear to be mundane and commonplace.
Please help us to see the something wonderful that waits to be discovered in the less-than-perfectly wrapped gifts of friendship, fellowship and service given by those around us. (2 Cor 4:7) May we never leave a gift unopened under Your Tree of Life. May we treasure Your gifts of peace, joy, love and salvation above all and may we use Your precious gifts to carry Your love to the world around us.
James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”
All Bible references are from the NASB 1995 unless indicated otherwise.
Until next week,
©2021 Katherine Walden