Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good Gifts

Well, it's here again, the shopping season (although I know a few people who honor this season 12 months a year). It used to be that "Black Friday" was the big day. If you wanted to see humanity at its lowest point, you could go to your local Walmart at midnight after Thanksgiving. But now there are stores wanting to beat the Friday rush and so they are opening on Thanksgiving! We live in a capitalistic society. It seems that our consumer friendly country is only encouraging our advance toward materialism year by year.

One of the ploys in the commercials involves getting that "perfect gift." They label such to be a car, diamonds, or the latest in electronic gadgets and gizmos. I have to say, watching some of these commercials is depressing. Here is this lady going through Best Buy and she is spending thousands of dollars on tablets, phones, and flat-screen TVs (this is depicted as normal, or something everyone should be doing). I mean, c'mon people, do we really need to spend that kind of money on all this stuff? And we wonder why our country is in debt!

I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:9-11 - "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Compared to the righteousness of God, we are evil. Yet we still want to bless our children with good gifts. But God really knows what gifts we need. He knows what good gifts really are! While we try to do our best to bless those around us, I believe that sometimes the gifts we choose to bestow upon those we love are not always the correct gifts or the gifts our children truly need.

What if you were to write down a Christmas wish list and give it to the Lord? Probably, you would begin by changing the things you'd ask for, because you would be concerned about asking for too many worldly things. But the more important question is, how would He respond? I think if we were all honest with ourselves, we would realize that the way He would choose to bless us might be very different than the way we often try to bless others. We should pattern our manner of blessing others after the manner in which God chooses to bless us.

Don't allow this holiday season to be about "stuff." Make it about family. Make it about time spent together. Make it about love and laughs, and memories. Make it about moments, not momentos.

I am thankful that we have a God who knows what we need and what will truly bless us. I am thankful for His merciful compassion for us even though we are often bent on evil. I am thankful that He chooses to bestow spiritual blessings first, while the needs we require of a physical nature are still important to Him. I am thankful for the love that exists in heaven toward sinful man that was demonstrated when it wrapped the most beautiful gift ever given in an unseemly human package. I am thankful for every one of God's good gifts to man, the pinnacle being the blood of the very Son of God to redeem our sinful souls!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." - James 1:17

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