How does your family give Christmas gifts?  Do you tell each other what you want?  Do you even go as far as cutting out a picture of that “have to have” item so they know exactly what to buy?  Or do you leave it up to their creativity, and let them buy whatever it is they think you might like? 

This was a conversation we had this weekend with friends.  To be honest, there was definitely some frustration amongst our group.  Some, like to share their “Christmas list” with their family so that they don’t end up with a Bill Cosby style sweater.  Some, find it offensive when their family members tell them exactly what they want for Christmas because it takes away the fun and surprise of gift buying.

I won’t sit here and tell you that I think that there is a right or wrong way to give gifts.  It’s none of my business how other families give gifts.  However, I’ve definitely been thinking about it and about how it relates to our relationship with Christ.

How does God give us gifts?  How does He bless us?  How does He answer our prayers?  How do we approach His thone with our requests?  I know for myself, there are many times when I come to Him knowing exactly what I want and how I want it.

“God, please heal Maggie and please take away the difficult things from her life.”

“I want my friend’s marriage to be restored… exactly like THIS.”

“Please hold the snow off until I can get my errands run.”

“I want my kids stomach bug to go away before our family celebrates thanksgiving.”

“Jesus, I want to know who my baby in Korea is by Christmas so that my sweet little plan will work out for Christmas morning.”

“I want my friends to get a job in St. Louis so they don’t have to move.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with presenting our requests to God.  There is also nothing wrong with telling Him exactly what we want and how we want it.  However, we must be completely surrendered to His will, and know that what He wants to give us may be very different from what is on our “list”.  There are times when He may choose to give us exactly what we have asked for.  Then there will be times when He looks at our “list” and says, “Child, I know that is what you SAY you want, but it’s not what’s best.  Trust me.”  Sometimes what he gives us, may, at first glance, look just like that hideous sweater from Great Aunt Hilde, but we will come to realize that He knew exactly what should have been on our list.  He is the giver of all good things.

 Matthew 7:11  “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”