I’ll admit it: My family creates gift lists for Christmas. They’re a guideline, not a mandate. And they serve a useful purpose. But there’s a problem, maybe two problems with them.
The first problem is that they reduce the surprise factor. I mean, if the gifts you unwrap are the ones you requested, it’s not super-surprising. Enjoyable, but not shocking.
But the second (real) problem is that the gifts on the list aren’t the ones we really want. Yes, we might desire those items, but the gifts that would truly satisfy and surprise us are seldom on the list. Gifts like:
- Deep and enduring joy
- Freedom from destructive habits
- Profound sense of purpose
- Life-giving relationships
- Healing from the wounds that cut to the soul
- The ability to accept ourselves for who God made us to be
You actually can put these on a Christmas list. But then give the list to the right person. Give it to God. Why not spend a little time “wishing” for these things (a.k.a. prayer) from your Heavenly Father? He is, after all, the giver of all good gifts.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
You could use a prayer like this: “Heavenly Father, here are some things I could really, really use right now in my life…”
And as we discovered last Sunday in listening to Mary’s song (Magnificat),
He has filled the hungry with good things. (Luke 1:53)
I know it’s a busy season. But all the more reason to seek the gifts that we truly long for. We need those “good things” now more than ever.
P.S. Keep leaning into the Advent Devotional. It’s a powerful, simple, daily way to make this a December that’s better than ever.
P.P.S. If you want a jump-start in 2018 for acquiring the kinds of gifts on the list above, let me encourage you to register for our next Rooted Experience which starts on January 16th. Details are here.