Christmas is a season filled with every kind of emotion. It contains some of the greatest highlights of the year, while there are those who find it bothersome, a lot of work, and even discouraging.
Jesus came to share God’s gifts of love, joy, hope, peace, and good news. We celebrate and have incredibly happy moments with family and friends. But there are times when all we feel are the burdens, worries, and stresses of the season.
One of the craziest elements about Christmas is presents. Gift giving can be extreme stressful, even though it is often born out of love. “What will we get them? How much should we spend? Which style should I wrap it in? Will they even like?” I wonder how much the Wise Men worried over the gifts they brought to the newborn King.
It can also be hard to receive gifts. To make things easier, we prefer to ask for certain things. It’s better to nudge towards something we’d really enjoy than be ungrateful for the gift from a friend or loved one. What if we took the time to ask God for gifts in our lives?
If you could have whatever you really wanted this Christmas, do you know what you’d ask for? Don’t take the easy road, or the cheap road, or the high road. Think big. If you could have anything, anything at all, what would you ask for?
You may think I’m playing a cruel joke on you. You don’t want to think too big. If you didn’t see it at the mall, in a department store, or on a “Clearance” rack, you aren’t even going to consider it. Maybe you think there isn’t a chance at getting something too great. You may have already asked for it so many times and always end up disappointed, so you’ve given up hope for it.
Christmas has many message we need to remember. One of them is to have hope. Do you remember the days of circling items and tearing pages from 3-inch thick “Wish Books” and making lists for Santa? You couldn’t contain yourself when Christmas morning came, your heart was so full of hope.
Better than Santa or a loved one, God wants to give us gifts. Christmas is a celebration of the gift of God’s Son, Jesus, and the everlasting life He gives to all who believe in Him. God has given us the gift of each other in the Church, the Body of Christ. Scripture even goes so far as to tell us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17a, NIV).
Later in his letter, James told the church why they were arguing and fighting with each other. It was because they didn’t have what they wanted. One reason was because they didn’t ask God for it (James 4:2).
God gives us some gifts simply because He is good and He loves us very much. Other gifts only come when we ask for them. Asking God is a step of faith. It is confessing we can’t make it happen for ourselves or create it on our own.
The book of Hebrews says faith drives us to God because we are confident He exists, but also because we believe He rewards those who seek Him. He invites us to ask, not to disappoint us or break our hearts, but to reward our faith and make His name great.
If children are quick to tell their friends and family what Santa brought them for Christmas, imagine how much we could share the good news of God’s power and love in our lives. You brag about the expensive perfume or fancy dress shirt you received from your spouse. Wouldn’t you be glad to brag to your friends when they ask how you received something so great and impossible that it could only come from the hand of God? God would certainly relish the praise.
Have you asked God for His gifts in your life? He created and sustains the universe. The possibilities are greater than you could ever ask or imagine (check out Ephesians 3:20). If you don’t ask, you won’t receive anything. If you do ask, if you open your heart and put your request before God, you could have it all.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)