The Perfect Gift
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13)
We are in the midst of the biggest gift-giving season of the year. Organized folks are most likely finished buying gifts for loved ones. Maybe you’re still searching for that elusive perfect gift to give someone.
What exactly is a perfect gift — either one we are expecting to receive or planning to give? Some try to treat others to something they can’t or won’t get for themselves. As givers, what joy it is to see pure delight in the recipient’s reaction.
I’ve also often heard advice from parents not wanting to over-indulge children, describing giving them three gifts during the holidays: 1) something a child needs (like a clothing item), 2) a book (to educate or grow the mind), and 3) something special they want.
We’ve probably all witnessed or seen a funny video of a kid recklessly tearing into Christmas presents, throwing clothing items quickly aside or over a shoulder, continuing to seek the toy or gift they really wanted. Or how about the baby or toddler who opens a present and misses the gift inside the box because they are fascinated by the box itself or the packaging? Remember the kid from the movie "A Christmas Story" who dreamed endlessly about the Red Ryder BB gun despite all the warnings of, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”? All funny scenarios, but can we as adults sometimes still be stuck in these unknowing, yet immature thoughts and reactions?
Our Heavenly Father, the wisest of all parents, gifts our lives with things we need, knowledge, and sometimes what we want. First and foremost, in terms of necessities, He gave the gift of His Son for our salvation because we’re all in desperate need of a Savior, whether we realize it or not. He gave us something we could never afford ourselves, and it brings Him joy when we are delighted and acknowledge the enormity of receiving this gift.
People in Jerusalem when Jesus was born awaited a Messiah who was supposed to be presented in much different packaging than the babe born in obscurity and wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger bed. They looked for one to physically free them from Roman oppression, not from the darkness of sin within all of humanity. Centuries later, we who know the beginning and ending of the story of God’s most precious gift to earth, may be tempted to judge that place in history and not understand how so many missed recognizing the Savior.
If we’re honest, in our daily lives, we all wish for immediate release of pain and captivity of situations where we feel stuck. I believe our Father wishes to give His children all of our heart’s desires, but He loves us enough not to do so. If we want to mature spiritually beyond the child tossing aside under-appreciated gifts, then we have to accept and recognize practical necessities for our spiritual lives and knowledge-building gifts lovingly provided by our Father more than we yearn for our own desires.
This doesn’t come easily or naturally, but we can pray for help to do so, as expressed so eloquently in this song by Natalie Grant:
"Help me want the Healer, more than the healing
Help me want the Saviour, more than the saving
Help me want the Giver, more than the giving
Oh help me want You Jesus, more than anything…
When I'm desperate and my heart's overcome
All that I need, You've already done
Help me want You more, than anything…"
The release felt within your heart as you sing along — Maybe in the car at the top of your lungs? Don’t judge or laugh — is indescribable! In the simple acceptance that there isn’t a situation where the presence of Jesus, in whatever form He chooses to present, is always the perfect gift. And more than anything, the greatest thing He’s ever saved me from … is me.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.