This past Christmas might have confirmed what we knew all along. Many of the things we want most don’t come wrapped in beautiful packages. While holidays wind down and stores fill with red hearts, we realize, Christmas couldn’t give what we desired most.
And we beg God for more.
We wished for the list no one sees. The stuff Amazon can’t bring. We pled for someone we love cured of cancer, a friend’s child returned to the fold, a baby for a couple unable to conceive, or a tragedy undone.
But, instead at our feet lay holiday wrappings and scattering of empty cardboard boxes, tipped on their sides like incessant prayers which seem to return void. None offered the gifts we wanted most.
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7:9-11 KJV
Jesus spoke these words to a listening crowd on a hill long ago, but perhaps as we begin a New Year, we need to hear them clearly today.
Our living room once strewn with gift paper and ripped open boxes looks ordered again…well, mostly. Ribbon, like little highways no longer criss cross the floor, and as another year spreads out its blank pages, reflection comes with it.
“’If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children…”
When my children were little, I desperately wanted each gift to bring them pleasure. I studied their young faces for a smile, eyes that lit up, the embrace of gratitude as I checked off their lists of wishes. How much better are God’s gifts to us than anything we could ever give to our children. Click To Tweet
“…how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
The truth in this verse is simple. My Heavenly Father is trustworthy in all He gives. He who knew no sin, and loves us undeservedly desires what is best for us and gives accordingly.
While we in our fallen state, can’t bear to see our children disappointed, neither will the Father give us something unfit, unwise or unloving. That unrestored relationship, health concern, or upsetting financial situation which moves with us onto the next calendar page, serve to teach us about a God whose very nature is good.
Perhaps, in the holiday’s aftermath, and at the beginning of a New Year, we feel we’ve been given a stone or a serpent when we’ve prayed for a different gift, another outcome.
The gifts of the Father puzzle us at times. They don’t look like we expect. Sometimes they bring tears and angst. How can it be we’ve been given this when we have asked for something beautiful to unwrap? And, crossing the threshold into a New Year feels daunting by the weight of what we carry.
If this is your experience as the New Year begins, Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 should bring comfort deep down inside.
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent…how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
God’s magnificent construction builds strength on the foundation of the inconceivable, often through the hard and painful.
I watch my grandson as he builds from his thousands of scattered pieces of Christmas Lego. He puts tiny parts together, like an unformed treasure, something begins to take shape. The picture on an empty box sits in front of him. God’s magnificent construction builds strength on the foundation of the inconceivable, often in the hard and painful. Click To Tweet
As his fingers move across the colored blocks, I cannot help but think of my own unwished for trials. Wrapped with a meager skin of my weakness and frailty, I lift them to Jesus. Clenched palms open.
He receives our offered gifts of trust. He will build something glorious. Much better than the box promised.
A recent article of mine at BibleStudyTools.com, Does the Christmas Story Contradict Itself?
What beautiful words. I love the things you bring to the page. Hope you are doing well. Happy 2023 to you and yours. ❤️👵🏻
Thanks Linda! I appreciate that you take the time to read and comment!! Happy 2023 to you all!
Thank you, Sylvia, for these precious words that bring hope and encouragement to my heart. They bring tears to my eyes and remind me to keep clinging to Jesus, who gives only what is good! I love your devotional and have shared some of them with my team at work.
Sandee, I’m so honored it brought encouragement. Thank you so much for sharing my post with others. It seems I need that hope as a New Year begins. It’s a journey!! Keep clinging. So good to hear from you.
Nancy E. Head
Someday, all the material possessions we have will be gone. Eternal souls and what God has made are what matters. Great post, Sylvia!
Thank you Nancy. Eternal souls, God, and His Word will remain. These matter.
So true. The things we want most can’t come in gift-wrapped packages. Love that passage in Matt. Our Father wants to hear our requests and know what’s best. May we trust Him when we can’t see.
Thank you Debbie. The Matthew passage speaks such comfort to me at this beginning of 2023. I am so very grateful I can count on Him to give the right things. He is good.
Our most precious gift from our Father is love, through His Son. And we are given the gift of love through family, friends, and loved ones. But with great love can also come pain. The pain of fear and loss. We know God is with us through the challenges and pain and His love will sustain us through the trial. Your message is touching, poignant, and full of love.
Thank you Katherine for these words. You state it well, “with great love can also come pain.” Through the pain God never leaves us, I know this with my head, but sometimes getting it down to my heart is difficult. I am so glad I can count on Him in every trial.
What an amazing thing to have a God that wants to give us gifts. I pray I can use these gifts to bring Him glory. I loved your post.
Jen, I am so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve never really seen the Matthew passage as comforting before, but this time it popped out with love. I’m so grateful God is good in the things He allows into our lives.