For me, a difficult part of Christmas is the gift giving. There is nothing better than giving the perfect gift. To know someone so well that you can anticipate what they want before they even know they want it. The sparkle in their eyes, the smile on their face when you have gone above and beyond and found the perfect gift. It’s Magical!!!
Too bad I am terrible at it. Every Christmas, I feel like at least one person I love is disappointed by my lack of insight. My inability to know them so well that I can surprise them with something that can astonish and delight them. I desperately desire to find “The Gift”. To know that I nailed it! The look in their eye when I have failed to get it right is unmistakable. The smile when someone is trying to express appreciation for the thought, even though it has left them disappointed, is painful to behold.
Because I want to get it right, to get them “The Gift” that will be just the right thing, gift giving can become this task that is full of so much more
When I am looking for a gift for someone:
I want to give them something of myself. You know, when they open it that they might say something like “ Oh, only Lisa would get this for me!!”
I want my gift to convey my love to the one I am presenting it to. When they open it they might immediately think, “She really cares about me!!”
I want to show them, through the gift I give them, how much I esteem them. That when they open their gift, their heart would know that I value them deeply, for who they really are.
I want them to know that I anticipated their need or desire, before they themself even knew they wanted or needed it. To think, ”This is essential, how have I lived without it??”
Often this becomes so overwhelming, that I abandon all hope and just want to get gift purchasing over with.
One of the surprising aspects of parenthood for me was the way the magic of Christmas was brought alive again. Having children around at Christmas was captivating. Their enchanting energy, wide eyed wonder and enthusiasm was so much fun!! Their curiosity and joy, amazing to behold. Our children infused so much unrestrained glee into Christmas, that it increased our enjoyment of the season ten fold.
However, there is a point when the wonder and delight of Christmas leaves a child dissatisfied. I remember the Christmas that this happened to my sweet girl.
We tend to keep Christmas simple. We had opened our stockings, we had read the Christmas story, had a delicious breakfast and taken our time unwrapping gifts. The age is different for every child, but she was 11. She had clung to wonder as long as she possibly could. She sat on the couch, looking over the chaos the morning has left. I was curled up on a chair, slowly drinking my coffee, enjoying watching the boys assemble their little lego stocking stuffers. It has always been fun to watch them build. I looked over to see if she was enthralled with the books she had received and there it was, disappointment just barely recognizable in her big soulful eyes. My heart recognized it immediately.
I am glad I am so tall, at 5’11” I went over and pulled that sweet lanky 11 year old child onto my lap, held her and asked “Has Christmas lost it’s magic?” Tears welled up in her eyes and one spilled over. I wiped it away and kissed her cheek. Childhood was slipping away and the truth that this world offers us little that can keep us satisfied was taking hold of that precious heart. She was growing up and the cold hard realities of life were setting in.
Part of me wanted to fix it, to find a way to reestablish the delight. To make it like it used to be. I ached to go back to the simplicity of childhood when is was easy to astonish her and see her eyes sparkle with wonder. I realized that she was past it and there was no going back. The worst part was that she longed to go back in time also and she knew she couldn’t.
I hugged her tighter “I remember the first Christmas I felt like this too.” I said as another tear spilled over onto her cheek. “It happens to all of us. “I know” she replied with a sigh. Dear old soul.
I went on to tell her that life does this, earthly things always inevitably, fade. Temporal things cannot satisfy. This reality tells our hearts that we were made for something more. This earth and the best it has to offer cannot fill the longings of our heart. It was not made to. These longings and dissatisfactions actually confirms that there is a perfect gift. If we are satisfied, full, there is no need for more. Emptiness indicates that there is more.
That is why Christmas is about the birth of Christ. When we take the time to contemplate that truth, can we ever lose the wonder of it? Can the wonder of “The Gift” ever really fail to satisfy us?
Jesus identifies himself as the the gift that satisfies in his conversation with the Samaritan woman.
John 4:7-13 says
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Whoever drinks the water Christ gives them will never thirst. To not thirst is to be satisfied.
Jesus is the gift from God that will fully satisfy our hearts. He is The Perfect Gift.
In sending Jesus, God gave us himself. When we receive it, our hearts rejoice because only God could have given this gift to us.
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
In this Gift, God conveyed his deep love for us. It communicates to a fullness like nothing else can that God really loves us! So much more deeply than we can comprehend.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
In sending Jesus God made a way for us to be in relationship with Him,he esteemed us, he valued us enough to pursue us to this extent
1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
He provided for needs we didn’t know we had, forgiveness for sin,
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
Through the gift of Jesus, God addresses a deep desire we didn’t know we longed for, God with us. When I understand the extent of this gift I know to the depth of my soul I realize this gift is essential, without Christ, I cannot truly live.
be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
What part of Jesus is “The Gift” that you need this Christmas. What will fully satisfy your heart?
Do you need the Lord of Peace? The one whose presence can chase away fear and doubt?
2 Thessalonians 3:16
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
Do you need The Truth? The one who can open things up, lay them bare and expose reality?
John 14:6New International Version (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Do you need The Light? The one who can keep you from stumbling in the darkness?
John 12:35New International Version (NIV)
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.
Do you need The Shepherd? The one who can guide you and comfort you?
Ezekiel 34:23New International Version (NIV)
23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tendthem; he will tend them and be their shepherd.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Do you need The Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God?
Isaiah 9:6New International Version (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
I am challenged to take a moment in the presence of God. To come before Him and ask Him what he has for me that will fill my heart and satisfy my soul? What is “The Perfect Gift” that he wants to give me through Jesus this Christmas.