Friday, November 18, 2005

fresh flowers for November 18

Every Good Gift
copyright 2005, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

While we were on holidays we celebrated Christmas with my husband’s family. It was a lovely time. My husband and I grew up a little differently where Christmas is concerned. His family asks for the ‘Christmas wish list’ and you can expect that you’ll receive something off that list. My family did not practice this, we were given gifts that my parents wanted to give us, it was always a big surprise as to what they had come up with that year. Both practices are wonderful, however, it sometimes throws me into a quandary when it comes to giving gifts. Do I honour the wishes of the person on the receiving end or do I go with the idea in my heart that was born for that person and surprise them with something unexpected and unanticipated? I’ve done both over the years but this year I felt really convicted to go strictly (almost) by the lists provided. The interesting thing is that pretty much everyone else seemed to be doing the same thing. The result was that everyone seemed to be quite delighted with all gifts received. We had all received things that we desired.

When we first got married trying to make that list for my mother-in-law was excruciatingly painful. I had such a hard time wrapping my head around writing down things that I really wanted. I was forced into thinking about what I truly wanted but was also scared of disappointment. What if my desire changed between the time I made the list and the gift-giving moment? I had grown up learning to be content with whatever I received, unfortunately, like every other kid, I wasn’t always terribly content and sometimes disappointed with what my parents had hoped to bless me with. My mother-in-law, however, had no idea of my likes and dislikes, my wants or my desires. That list gave her some clues as to appropriate gifts for me, it made her gift-giving much easier. On the other hand the same was true for my husband’s sisters, I didn’t know them that well yet and the lists gave me some idea of what they preferred.

In most gift-giving our desire as a giver is to bless and love the person receiving the gift, sometimes we hit the mark and sometimes we are a little off. We are human, sometimes we get it just right and sometimes we are dreadfully wrong. I’m sure we’ve all given or received a gift that just didn’t cut it. It can be disappointing on both ends. God isn’t like that, He always gets it right, even when we don’t think so initially.

God desires to give us the desire of our hearts, it says so in Psalm 37 and in several other places in scripture. He delights to give good gifts to His children. Sometimes they are the gifts like my parents give, a surprise, something unexpected and unanticipated. Sometimes they are the things we ask for, like my husband’s parents, that bless us and we count them as answered prayers. Then there are gifts that cause us to wonder what He was thinking, doesn’t He know that I really didn’t mean it when I asked Him for more patience? You know what I mean don’t you? You pray for patience and immediately or sooner you get a package wrapped in something that causes you to exercise those patience muscles beyond your human capacity? Like the kids dumping all the cereal boxes out on the floor just after you washed it? You ask God for more love in your heart and your package is a friend saying something that hurts beyond words and your immediate desire is to never speak to them again or hurt them back?

Yup I much prefer those gifts that fulfill the longings and desires - that don’t take much work, the blessings that get handed over without having asked for them or unexpected surprises, those are the ones that come in those great gift bags, easy to open and get at. Those other ones take some work to get at, the packing tape is hard to get through, there are multiple layers of wrapping and the gift is deep inside that wrapping, not unlike a package wrapped by my brother-in-law! No matter what wrapping the gift comes in the unpacking is worthwhile because we can be sure of this; God gives good gifts to His children. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,” (James 1:17a)

To find a few more of God’s gifts look up: Ecc 3:13, John 4:10, Acts 2:38, Acts 1:4, Romans 6:23, 1 Cor 7:7, Eph 2:8, 1 Peter 3:7 and 4:10, Rev 22:17.

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