The first Christmas in our new house took place a few days early because we were flying to Idaho to enjoy the holiday with our new niece. My husband and I decided that this was the year of the “Big Christmas”. We outdid ourselves, thinking about all of the things our kids might love to open and then methodically crossing them off the list as we purchased them. The big day came and our tree looked like it belonged to a family of ten, the ground was so crowded with gifts.
The kids were indeed excited as they took in the grandeur of colorful packages surrounding the tree. I admit I felt a little guilty at giving so much to our kids when they were far from lacking in toys as it was, but I figured “Big Christmas” had to happen once right? The kids began opening gifts in anticipation of the treasures that were inside. They were thrilled to open pirate costumes, race cars, books, and Barbies. After a while, present fatigue set it. They had opened about two-thirds of their gifts but were done and wanted to move on to the “playing with gifts” part. That’s when it hit me that we had truly overdone it. I had no idea kids could get tired of opening gifts!
As a parent, I always have the desire to give my kids all of the things they want. I love to see the smiles on their faces when we indulge them. I know it’s not good for them to receive everything they ask for, but there’s a real pull to want to do whatever I can to make them happy.
In the Bible, we are reminded that, as much as we love our kids, we are all loved even more by God, who is the ultimate gift giver. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!” (Matthew 7:9-11) God knows our needs and he knows the best way to meet them. His ways may not be the same as ours, but we can trust that he will faithfully provide for us in a way that is for our greatest good. He is willing to receive our disappointment in not always getting what we want because he sees the greater picture of what we really need.
Unlike my kids, we will never tire of God’s gifts because they are perfect and perfectly timed. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
I’m sure God would love to give us all of our heart’s desires but he knows what the result of that would be – more harm than good. Selfishness, self-centeredness, destruction, stagnation, death. He will not give us things that will lead to our demise because he loves us so much. He may allow us to have some things that turn out to be unpleasant because we do have free will and can sometimes benefit from disappointment or hurt in order to really see God’s goodness in our lives. It has been in my self-made beds of ruination where I have realized how much I need God and how my own desires are not always good or life-giving. I am confident that God’s desires and gifts for us will lead us to the abundant life he promises and we truly desire.
I doubt that we’ll have another “Big Christmas” but I appreciate the lessons learned from the experience.
Have you ever had a “Big Christmas”? How was your experience?