(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia )
We walked to the car, and our daughter saw the gifts wrapped and stacked inside. “Wow!” She exclaimed, her eyes wide in wonder. Over the next week, she unwrapped her gifts and read her cards, remembering the names of friends who had celebrated her birthday. She was excited to wear her “Tai Ma” gumboots, and when she saw her friends at church that Sunday, she waved more enthusiastically than ever.
James chapter 1, verse 17 says:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James chapter 1, verse 17)
God lavishes extraordinary gifts upon us; His love, His grace, the many ways in which He provides, sustains and blesses us. It was so sweet to see our daughter open her gifts and say “Ta” (thank you), and to observe how she affectionately remembered who had given certain gifts, even later on.
How do we respond to God, the giver of good gifts? As we embrace His gifts, do we also remember Him?
. . .
There are always things to do, people to see and places to be. Life gets busy and the value of God’s provision to us can get lost in the flurry of day-to-day living. How often do we take time out to stop, appreciate what God has given, and just say “Thank you God”?
Thank you God for your all-encompassing love.
Thank you God for the sun and the rain.
Thank you God for the life you have given.
Thank you God for your faithfulness.
There are so many things to thank God for and making the time for thanksgiving refreshes our minds. It resets our perspective and helps us draw closer to the giver of all these gifts, our Father God.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
His love endures forever.
(Psalm chapter 118, verse 1)
. . .
More than a gift
While gifts are a wonderful thing, they are a sign of something much more valuable. A gift is given by a friend, a loved one, someone who is thinking of you. It is a sign that there is a relationship, and that someone cares.
What is more important to us? When we pray, do we care more about the gift or the giver? Are we happy to just talk to God and spend time with Him, or are we pre-occupied with asking for things? There is nothing wrong with asking God for things and in fact, He wants us to bring Him all our requests and anxieties. However, I also remember special times in my own life of just sitting before God and adoring Him. These were times of reflecting on God’s beauty and magnificent qualities. No lists, no constraints, just praise and worship.
“Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
His splendour is above the earth and the heavens.”
(Psalm chapter 148, verse 13)
. . .
I love you
Thanksgiving, blessing and relationship are all intertwined. God’s gifts are given in good times and in bad. He gives everything we need as we need it, and He is faithful. He loves us, and it is out of His love for us that He gives such abundant gifts even when we don’t deserve them.
His greatest gift of all is that of freely given grace and eternal life. It is the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice and victory on the cross that wipes away every sin and replaces it with salvation. It is the gift of restored relationship with the Father God for all eternity. The Father loves us and wants us to be with Him and share in all He has prepared for us.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans chapter 6, verse 23)
A gift must be received however, and that is up to us. So, will we accept the gift and the giver? The choice is ours.