December 19, 2022
What’s Under God’s Giving Tree?
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens (James 1:17 NLT).
Friend to Friend
How do you arrange your Christmas gifts under the tree? After all, there are multiple strategies that must be considered! If you’ve got “shakers” in your family, you likely hide their gifts at the bottom of the pile. If you’ve got a “Snoopy,” like my kids, you probably keep those gifts undercover in a location that only Nancy Drew could find.
During my childhood, I described my Mom’s Christmas strategy as “Shock, Awe and Squishy.” She’d place my most-longed-for gift in front of the tree, usually unwrapped. Mom hovered by with her camera to capture the enraptured look on my stunned face.
Then, it was time for the squishy gifts. These were the lumpy, soft-wrapped packages that showed up every year: underwear and socks. Mom was just as excited about the squishy packages as she was about my big gift. Me? Not so much. I had to work much harder to manufacture a smile while opening a new package of thermal underwear. Wow. Thanks, Mom…
But Mom knew. While the trendy toys or clothing items changed each year, Mom made sure that I received those thick, squishy gifts because she wanted to protect me, keep me healthy and growing strong. However, I didn’t recognize the value of those less dazzling gifts until I was much older.
In our Christian lives, we ask God for gifts that reflect our wants and desires, like a certain type of home, job, income, opportunity, or dream. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for those things. In fact, God invites us to ask Him.
Yet, Today’s Truth offers a powerful insight into God as a giver. God’s best gifts have eternal value, so they never break down, go out of style or are out of stock. Consider the phrase, “whatever is good and perfect is a gift.” In the original Greek language, the word “good” reflects the flow of the nature of God to us and then, through us, out to others. The original language for the word “perfect” describes the development of our Christian character. Putting those together means that the gifts that God gives you from heaven come with the purpose of equipping you to live complete in Christ, and as a consequence of your Christian character, you will have an eternal impact on the lives of others.
Some of God’s best gifts are peace, grace, joy, purpose, hope and love. However, these gifts don’t come in a box, with a gift card or with download instructions. Rather, these gifts tend to show up in various ugly or unpopular wrapping papers of difficult or painful circumstances
Too often, we judge God’s goodness or His love by what we think He’s giving us. God isn’t the one giving you heartache, your dysfunctional family, pain, rebellious children, a difficult job, or a chronic illness. Sadly, that’s the painful price of sin (Romans 6:23). Yet, God promises that He has good things waiting when you believe and follow His ways through your circumstances. The gifts that God gives us from Himself are for our blessing, and also so that we can be a blessing, too! Isn’t that wonderful? As you look past the ugly wrapping paper and allow yourself to experience God’s good gifts in your life, you’ll be a light of His goodness to those around you.
As you prepare for the Christmas season, can you think of the gifts you’ve experienced from God that you can’t purchase anywhere else? How have those gifts blessed you, and in return, how have you been able to bless others?
God, You are the Giver of all good things! Thank You for giving me what I need, even when I don’t always like the package that it comes in. As I walk through today’s challenges, help me to see with fresh eyes how You’ve blessed me, and I pray for an opportunity to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What were some of your favorite gifts as a kid? Looking back, can you recall any gifts you didn’t appreciate at the time?
Can you identify any gifts that God has given you that weren’t requested, but gifts that have blessed your life far beyond anything tangible or earthly?
More From the Girlfriends
If you’ve been struggling with guilt or shame from your past, check out Barb’s new Bible study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ.
This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom feeling like you need to earn God’s love or forgiveness. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.
© 2022 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Monday, 19 December 2022.