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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gives Good Gifts

Matthew 7:11 says- If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Sometimes I tend to claim the verses that remind me how much work I need to do.  It probably stems from my good Reformed heritage, knowing we are totally depraved and all that, I often feel the need to remind myself of all the work I need to be doing out of LOVE (not requirement, though sometimes I think we all forget) for Jesus and what he did/does for us.  But every now and then a verse like this will come to mind and just remind me how awesome our God is and how much he LOVES to love us.

During this season of anticipation, thanks, joy, and of course gift-giving, I am reminded of all the gifts we have been given and are going to be given by our Heavenly Father.  Particularly as I think about giving gifts to my kids.  This is one of those times when being a parent can bring your heart just so close to God's.  On any given day my kids can make me cry with frustration, jump for joy, laugh at their humor, yell with anger, and shed tears of pride at their accomplishments.  No matter the day though, whether it has been mostly good or mostly bad, I always delight in giving them a good gift!  Maybe it's just time- reading together, snuggling together, watching a favorite tv show, or maybe it's a literal gift- a new toy, a book, something I've crafted to give them a fun new activity to try, etc.  The point is, rarely does it cross my mind that maybe they don't deserve it (I say rarely because I can't be 100% sure it hasn't, but not in recent memory) or that I'd rather just withhold something that will bring them joy.  Parents love to bring their kids joy and there are few things that put that sparkle in their eyes faster than a gift, big or small.

This is the first year that I've been able to see my kids get really excited about Christmas.  I love that they talk about Jesus, that is my favorite part.  I also love that every morning when Evie comes downstairs she checks her stocking, she can't help it!  I've had fun finding them gifts I know they'll love, now that their personalities and likes/dislikes are so evident, and they have even been able to tell me what they hope to get. (Evie- Hello Kitty, Elijah- A car)  I also love that Elijah stands in front of the window every time we get a flake of snow and says "Mommy, it's Christmas!  Snow means Christmas! Merry Christmas Mommy, Ho Ho Ho."  And Evie says: "It'll be Christmas when my Hello Kitty comes, right mommy?"

All of this is to say that the giving of gifts to my kids is, in itself, such a gift.  To go out and buy virtually anything they want, within reason, and watch the smiles on their faces...to have the time, ability, energy, to give them the other types of gifts- time, food, even medical care(!), those are blessings!  There are a lot of mamas and daddies out there that cannot give such gifts to their kids, they struggle even to feed their children, and they deal with the type of decision we cannot even imagine- to have to consider actually giving your child up in the hopes of them getting a better life.  My heart and mind are with those mamas today, in addition I am claiming for them and for our family, that God gives good gifts to those who ask.  Can you imagine, how much more lavishly God wishes to shower us with "gifts" when it feels so good for us who are EVIL to give gifts to OUR children?  I pray that this holiday season we will learn to give good gifts, as well as ask for and anticipate the GOOD GIFTS our Heavenly Father wishes to give us.