“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
- Luke 11:11-13
Of course, this passage from Luke is similar to part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:9-12), but I like to draw from a variety of sources.
I was thinking about gift-givers at Christmas the other day.
If I got anything from my Dad, it would be a jigsaw puzzle. I think that was to have peace and quiet. If he gave me a big enough challenge, it might take a day or two and the only noise that he would hear was me, talking to myself, sometimes arguing. For example, “That piece doesn’t go there! Why would you think that!?”
My mother always got me socks and underwear. One year, I had one present from: “Parents.” It had me stumped. I shook it. It didn’t rattle. So, no jigsaw puzzle. It was the wrong shape of a box to be socks or underwear. On Christmas morning, I opened the box to discover that my parents had given me what I always got from them but packaged differently. They opened the jigsaw puzzle box and laid the socks and underwear over the pieces to ensure no rattling. I was so disappointed in not getting something unique, but they laughed – hard. I have mentioned in the past that my mother never laughed. That day she did, but not a gleeful laugh.
My mother’s mother was very predictable. She would buy me some odd candy made of sugar paste with chocolate covering, each about the size of a grown man’s thumb. The other was chocolate-covered cherries, in the cherry juice. Neither was my favorite candy, but it was a sweet gift. She may have given high-sugar content gifts to make me hyper and drive my parents crazy, but I still loved it. My other grandparents were the practical ones. I cannot remember anything that they got me, but whatever it was, I made good use of it.
The only toys were from Santa Claus. It’s a shame that my parents and grandparents could not learn a good gift giving lesson from Santa Claus.
The photo above is a big chunk of our younger son’s Christmas. We are renting a car and going to visit and deliver. With all my son’s mental, medical, and work problems, he has not had the energy to buy anything. His wife has been taking final exams this past week, final until next semester – one more year. Without a paycheck for at least another month, they don’t have the money for groceries. So, Christmas would have waited, until we decided to visit. On our fixed income, it isn’t much, but there will be some surprises under the tree, and some things that they will make good use of.
Think back to that one gift, that now, years later, you still think about. Was it thoughtful, just what you needed, at just the right time? Was it something totally unexpected, out of character for that person to give that kind of gift?
Have you ever thought of Jesus’ gift to us as the greatest gift you ever received? He gave Himself. He gave us a chance of living with Him in Glory, forever. We just have to believe in Him, trust in Him, and accept Him into your heart. Then, as we grow closer to Jesus, being with Him becomes the only thing that really matters.
Now that is a gift that I will remember, for years and years. Indeed, forever.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.