Which brings you more joy, receiving or giving gifts?
At Christmas as a child, sometimes my mom and dad would do a treasure hunt for my "main" gift. I would open a gift, and there would be a clue to go to a certain place, and there I would find another clue, then another and another, and so on until, at last it took me to the "main" gift. I remember one time it was a brand new teal green bike with high handlebars and a banana seat. It even had matching wheels; it was really cool - oh, I loved that bike.
Mike and I carried that tradition on with our children; at certain times, with special gifts, we would do a treasure hunt. A couple of Christmases ago, my kids really surprised me and led me on a treasure hunt. We went up into the bedroom, into the garage, into the basement, out in the yard, all around the house, then, finally, down to the sub-basement. There was a box, and in that box, another box that had the letters "M-a-c-b-o-o-k A-i-r." I thought, is it really a new computer? And it was a brand new Macbook Air. I was so surprised and excited.
I am grateful for that gift. I use it every day, and it runs perfectly, makes tasks easier and I have the memory of this gift every day. But what really makes this gift most special and memorable was the way it was given. You see, my family wanted to return to me what I had given them all through the years: a sweet childhood memory--not just what they had as a child, but what I had as a child. Memories, memories with my family, memories with my parents-- something truly special. You see, they reached down to the core of my heart and gave me a gift that only they could give due to the memories we had together.
God has done the same for us and continues to do this for us. In 1 Chronicles it tells about David's desire to rebuild the temple so that the Ark of God could rest in it and how the people gave of their resources to accomplish this task. Let's look at David's prayer:
In 1 Chronicles 29:10 - Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly: “O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.
Notice, especially, these next few verses: 13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!....16 “O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you!
You see these people brought what they had; they were giving it to God so His temple could be built, but as David acknowledges, there was nothing that they gave that didn’t first come from God. And it is the same with us.. All we have and all we are is a gift from God.
The gift my children gave me was really special, not only because of what it was, but because of who it was from and how it was given. You see God, the creator God, the One that owns all things reaches down into our hearts and gives us ‘things’--He gives us what we need to live each and every day, gives us comfort, gives us strength, gives us pleasures, gives us life and breath and health and all the blessings that flow from that. But, may I suggest it is only when we REMEMBER WHO is the giver of these gifts that we really realize the value of them.
I mean, think of it, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of Lord and King of Kings is giving us precious gifts, personal gifts every day. So let's remember not only to give thanks to Him for being the giver of these gifts and praises to Him for who He is, but to seek Him in HOW we should use and return these gifts to Him. - Sherl Fenton