I’m currently knee-deep in Christmas gifts and wrapping paper. Usually, I’m the one that is appointed to do all the shopping for the kids. And, of course, I also wrap the presents. I find so much joy in this process. As I carefully wrap each gift, I envision how they’ll react on Christmas morning when they tear through the ribbons and paper.
Like many of you, opening presents on Christmas morning is a tradition in our home.
The concept of gift-giving at Christmas reminds me of how God gives to us. Not a single gift under our tree is something anyone deserves, just like when God gives to us. That’s what a gift is – something that is not earned or deserved.
It’s not a reward for being nice, as the popular song about Santa goes, “He’s gonna to find out who’s naughty or nice.” And likewise, we don’t put presents under the tree only if our children have behaved well this year. We put gifts under the tree because we love them and long to see their bright, smiling faces when they unwrap their presents.
Earlier in the month, my son and daughter make a wish list. When they present their “Christmas wish list” to us, they are placing the outcome of what will be under the tree to my husband and I. They trust us, but, boy do they hope we will give them everything they want.
This idea of a wish list reminds me so much of the way we pray. Sometimes our prayers tend to become more of a wish list of all the things that we desire. Like children at Christmas, we tell God everything we want in hopes that He will be generous and let us have it all.
Throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas, my husband and I carefully scan the list, and decide which items to buy. The items on the list fall into three categories:
- Yes, absolutely, that’s a great idea, and it has great value.
- Maybe. While it’s not necessarily what we would choose, we don’t see any harm in it, either.
- No way, not happening, bad idea.
There is a fourth category, though. You see, I don’t always stick to what’s on their list. Often, I give them something they don’t know they want or need. Those are the gifts I really look forward to watching them open because they are the least expected.
I’m reminded of all the times that God has answered my prayers. There are so many times that we pray and pray for something we want, or a situation to go a certain way, but God often has a different plan for us.
Sometimes He answers with a yes, a no, or a not yet. Other times He lets us have what we want, knowing it isn’t going to make a huge impact on us either way. Then, there are those times, which seem to happen the most, when He answers us in a way that we do not expect.
Of all the possible ways that God could answer us, it’s best that we pray to Him, and then entrust the outcome to Him, knowing that God knows what’s best for us.
“Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
When we let God work in our lives and when we allow Him to do things His way, the outcome is always better than it would have been if we had done it our way.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
He usually has a way bigger, better plan that I do. His imagination is definitely bigger than mine, afterall, He did create the world.
“Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20
I hope you get what you want for Christmas this year, but most of all, I pray that you open up your heart to receive the many amazing blessings that God has in store for you. Rather than insisting he answer your prayers the way you want them to go, just be open to God’s plan for your life.
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17
To follow the whole series of Journey to Christmas, click here: https://jenniferjabbour.com/the-journey-to-christmas-advent-series/