love

The Giver

I’m at the point in my life where I am more of the giver than the receiver-aka Motherhood. I have been shopping online and on foot for weeks now, picking out gifts, making sure I didn’t forget anyone, worrying whether everyone has an even number of gifts so no child feels I love one more than the other and then their whole life is ruined by lack of Shopkins. I’m done with my Christmas shopping…I think. Actually, I may need just one more…ugh.

This year I have encountered something I’ve never had to deal with before. My kids have been snooping. In my closet, under the bed, one even had the audacity to tear a bit of wrapping paper to get a better look at her gift. I was a little disappointed with her cunning. I mean, really, doesn’t she realize I’m going to notice the torn paper? You have to at least try to carefully lift the taped edge so that you can tape it back after you’ve taken a peek! Amateurs.

Full disclosure-there have been several times over the last few weeks when I joyfully bought and wrapped gifts for my children…and then there were moments that I wanted to take it all back to the store. Tantrums, bad attitudes, ungrateful spirits rubbed me raw and I thought, “They don’t deserve anything I’ve done for them! Maybe we are spoiling them too much.”

But, here is the truth. No child deserves any gift they get. And no parent gives them gifts because they deserve it. We give our children gifts because we love them and it delights our hearts to do so.

So it is with God. We have received many gifts from our Father, the greatest of which we have planned an entire celebratory season around-the gift of Jesus. I promise you with all my heart that we have not received any of these gifts because we deserved them. God gave us these good things in spite of the fact that we deserve to be forever separated from him. Our depravity is so wretched that we deserve an eternal time out, separated from the holy God who is without sin and always good.

Instead, we receive gifts we couldn’t earn and could never hope to deserve.

God gives his unfathomable peace, unexplainable joy, unquenchable hope, and immeasurable love. We receive it in the person of Jesus. God gives because he is all of these things, and enjoys all of these things, and because of his love for us, he generously shares them with us so that we can enjoy them too.

He doesn’t give us what we deserve, like Santa and his stocking full of coal. He gives us himself. He gave his Son to take our place while we were still wallowing in our sin. He’s done it all-for us. He is the ultimate giver.

I want to give like he does. With love, and joy and delight. Not with a grumbling heart, but rather with a cheerful heart. I want to give even when the receiver doesn’t appreciate the cost of the gift. I’m not at that point yet. My selfishness still tries to get the glory even through my acts of generosity. But as I consider the way God has given to me, I sense that my heart is changing and I’m less concerned with the worthiness of the receiver and more enamored by the graciousness of God to someone as unworthy as me.

Do you struggle with giving?

My prayer for us today is that we would be gracious receivers of the gifts we do not deserve and generous givers that reflect the heart of our generous God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.            John 3:16

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.                         1 John 4:10

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.            Ephesians 2:4-7