I resisted the journey, every day of it. I awoke one morning near the end of November and I knew.
You see we have Christmas lists filled with things, things that would delight, or be useful or fun. I usually want books and a new pair of boots, maybe a (I know this sounds dreadfully boring) kitchen appliance or new bath towels. Usually I take on the smug smile we mother’s don when asked by our kids, “What do you want for Christmas?” And we reply, “Oh, I have everything I need….”
But this morning in November wasn’t about what I thought I might need, or want. In fact, the idea made me a little angry. This thought kept popping into my thoughts: You need to write about my gifts during advent.
Ugh! 25 days! You know I’m not good at doing that every day, writing every day.
You need to write about my gifts during advent.
By this point, I knew I was arguing with God.
Ok, you DO understand, God, that that’s a couple of hours every day, my kids will be home, there’s cards to send and cookies to bake and shopping! You DO know, God, how much I have to do.
You need to write about my gifts during advent.
Didn’t I sound lame? I realized that there must be something in the writing through advent that God knows I need, knows I want for Christmas but didn’t realize myself.
So, on December first, I posted my first advent 2014 blog post in the series called 25 Gifts: Why Jesus?
I’m exploring the person and promise of Jesus and asking why a lot. Mostly I still ask why God? Why are you pressing upon me to do this? So now, as I write Day 7 (a day late) I joke about this daily writing session and call it “Obeying God”. I’ll fold that load of laundry after I “obey God”; I’ll run those errands and get to that pile of paperwork after I “obey God”.
I’m posting everyday here on this blog because maybe you, friend, are wrestling with accepting the gifts God has for you, too?
Maybe this Christmas you need financial change, or you’re seeking answers to problems, you want healing in your body or peace in your home. Maybe you’re busy and your kids are busy and the Christmas season is speeding by and your feel shortchanged. Maybe there’s something in these gifts of Jesus for you, that fits just right? We don’t always consider the good gifts and provision of God, and sometimes the demands of life distract us from the time we need to settle in and really see what he’s giving us. Sometimes I don’t want to, because I have my wish-list and it doesn’t seem he’s cooperating.
But friend, we can trust God to give us just what we need, at just the right time, just like he gave this world Jesus.
I keep returning to one of my favorite passages in Matthew chapter six. There Jesus points to the flowers and the birds and tells those listening on the hillside: consider them. Take the time and a few moments to regard how God the Father clothes even the flowers and feeds the sparrows. They don’t worry or pile on so many items on their daily ToDo lists. They receive from the abundant mercy of God what he knows they need. And then, he leans in and tells us the secret:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.(Matthew 6:33-34)
There’s a promise and a condition here. The condition is small, but so hard for me to do: seek first the kingdom of God and his goodness and truth. And “all these things” will be given. Every day, every tomorrow, God’s got it covered. I need only to look to him.
So I’m several days into the habit and can I tell you something: I need this. A week into December and I have needed to lean into his grace, lean in and ask for wisdom and for strength and rest.
And I have had several opportunities to share from this abundance and give encouragement and wisdom and understanding to others. And I’ve been exhausted but encouraged, I’ve cried and prayed and stepped every day into this kingdom-seeking habit. And it hasn’t been all sparkling lights and Christmas carols, I’ll be honest. We’ve had some battles this week and my back went into spasms so badly it took my breath away. But I’m learning, day by day, the reasons for this Christmas present God’s had for me. Because he is the present when I’m present. He is the grace and the guidance and the unchanging truth that wraps me up and covers me when I simply bow and wait and seek and write.
Is God waiting to gift you with something, too? Will you take some time and consider his presence, his perfect timing and his provision this Christmas season? You won’t be sorry.
For more encouragement on trusting the Father to know your needs, click on this post at Desiring God.