This is the week full of gifts, stress, and last minute Christmas shopping with everyone else and their brother searching for the same thing. Its funny how in the midst of this “joyful season,” we are typically frustrated with the people causing us to wait in the long line at check out. Finally we get to Christmas morning and get to see the look on each others’ faces of surprise and excitement, and then if you are like me, the last gift has been opened and your eyes are already searching the corners of the room to see if there might have been a gift forgotten to be put in your pile.
The truth is no matter how great the gifts are this Christmas morning, we are all going to be disappointed. It happens every year. The excitement of the surprise builds up. Then finally we get to throw the wrapping paper off and open the gifts we have been waiting so anxiously to receive. No matter what it is though, the excitement fades over the next couple of days, or sometimes as soon as the gifts are unwrapped. This is because we love the surprise that comes with the gifts. We love the unknown and can not wait to see what someone has bought for us and thinks we will enjoy. And often times the gifts are heartfelt, lasting gifts that we will have for years., but even when it is the greatest gift we could ask for, they also look better wrapped up with a bow on top.
This is when I started asking myself, why do we love gifts.
Why do we love the mysterious visage a gift brings and desire to explore what’s inside?
What if it is because we were wired to explore the most mysterious gift there is and never find disappointment, but instead, find true satisfaction, joy, and contentment.
In Luke 11:13, Jesus says this about the matter, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” So think about this in terms of Christmas. We cherish the gifts that are given to us by those who know are hobbies, favorite movies, favorite books, and so on. But there is a limit to what they know about us. They don’t know our heart’s true needs and desires; only God knows this, and He knows the exact gift that we all need: Himself.
He knows of a gift that will never leave us searching the room for a forgotten present, but instead will leave us seeking our forgiving Savior. He knows that our need is the Holy Spirit living inside of us and transforming us into holiness. This gift is one that last year round, 24/7. Its a gift that never leaves us wishing there was more. It simply leaves us wanting more of Jesus.
So this Christmas, rest in the gift that has already been given to you. The gift that will give meaning to every other one you will give or receive because when you see how graciousness of the Father, you will be free to see the gifts as a means to the end not the end themselves. God has also given you himself to be able to take a deep breath while shopping in the crowds, to love your family in the craziness of traveling, and to share the gospel with those you are close to.
Let the Father’s gift of his Spirit free you to celebrate Christ’s birth.