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?