Above you see a picture of my favorite Christmas present: a stuffed Olaf. It was given to me by my favorite seven-year-old in the whole, wide, world, my youngest daughter.
When I look at Olaf, I must smile. I love his character from the movie, Frozen. Olaf is always optimistic, always helpful, and always thinking of others. And my favorite line of his, “Some people are worth melting for.” This simple snowman demonstrates sacrificial love.
Although not a general fan of stuffed animals, I had to keep a gift given by my daughter. I cleared a special place for him to reside, prominently on my desk. A glance at him reminds me of how greatly I am loved. He also teases a smile from a stressed frown, and reminds me to love others, and to always expect the best.
God loves to give gifts to His children. I envision Him much like my daughter was Christmas morning, bouncing around with excited anticipation, impatient for mom to open the gift from her. Sometimes His gifts are simply something to make us smile. Something to bring a burst of joy, if only for that moment, to the day. But His greatest gift of all is His Son, Jesus. Jesus shows us how to always remain optimistic or hopeful, how to always be helpful to others and ourselves, and how to always think of others. And if Jesus had a tagline? Maybe it would be, “Because you are worth dying for.” His life is the epitome of sacrificial love.
So now, we are each faced with a decision: What are we going to do with this gift? Will be sit it on a shelf, to look at upon occasion? Will we hide it in a cupboard, or return it?
James 1:17 tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from God above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” (NIV)
God handpicks every gift for each of us. And whatever it is, we can be sure, it is for our good. Because God Himself is good. And because God loves us each immensely. That love explains why He gave us Christ.
As I opened the Olaf, I could have happily “misplaced it,” after wondering, “what should I do with this?”
Instead, I chose to embrace the gift of a character that would help me refine my attitude. And I chose to embrace the love and joy my daughter experienced in giving Olaf to me. Just as God’s gifts reflect the immense love He has for each of us. And the gift of Christ will be the best gift for each of us ever.
Do I recognize when God is gifting me?
Do I eagerly accept and unwrap His gifts?
What have I decided to do with Jesus, now that Christmas is over?
Thank you for reading! Please return by Monday, January 19, for the next post.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Please help me to identify the gifts you place before me. Please help me to praise You and thank You for those gifts, even the ones I am uncertain of, and wish to return. When I receive a material gift from someone, please help me remember to not only thank the human giver, but to also thank You. And above all, thank You for Your son, Jesus. Because it is through Him that I can approach you, clean and blameless in Your sight. In His name, Amen.