Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
As part of my office Christmas gift exchange this year, we each filled out a short survey. What is your favorite color? Dogs or cats? Coffee or tea? Very simple, light-hearted questions – nothing too deep, of course. Then, these surveys were mixed up and redistributed to each employee. This meant that not only was the “Santa” secret, but the recipient of the gift was secret as well. We had our few, short clues, but nothing else to base our gift selection on. Despite this fact, during the gift exchange, I was surprised to find how it seemed that every gift was a complete hit and matched the recipient’s preferences perfectly.
Armed with little more than the basic fact that Pride and Prejudice was my favorite book, my “secret Santa” delivered a handmade art piece decorated with my all-time favorite Jane Austen quote. How from among the 252 pages did they know to use this particular quote? I saw a gift prepared by a stranger to a stranger, and yet it felt uniquely designed for me.
If my coworkers were able to give such personalized gifts with such little information, just imagine how much more personalized the gifts the God who created us – and knows every single hair on our heads – would be able to give?
This series, we’ve been studying different gifts that God gave leading up to the first Christmas and how they built a deeper relationship between God and the people he presented those gifts to. Zechariah and Elizabeth longed for a child even into their old age. God not only gave them a child, but He also blessed them with the knowledge that He was real and the assurance that He would always do what He said He would. The shepherds longed for community and belonging beyond their flock of sheep. God revealed to them the Savior upon his entry into the earthly world – the one who would bring invitation, belonging, and identity. Simeon was a devout man who longed to see the one who would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of God’s people Israel. God not only gave him the gift of seeing the Savior as he had hoped, but God also blessed him with this great journey of expectation and anticipation to the end of his life. Throughout the Bible, we have so many accounts of God giving gifts that truly meet the desires of hearts and even more beyond.
Sometimes it can be difficult to remember that we are characters in the Christian story, too! Just like God met the personalized needs of each person in these stories, he wants to meet our needs, too. And He also wants to exceed our expectations. God loves to give us gifts. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God is our creator and the creator of our heart’s desires. My prayer for us this Christmas season is that we would not be afraid to ask God for the desires of our hearts. I pray that God would not only meet us where we are but that during that journey, He would reveal Himself to us in so many ways and that we would have many experiences to share with Him. I pray that He would build a confidence in us that He is faithful and that He will walk through our journey with us. Father, all we want for Christmas is You.
By Mical Coon