Despite what every good preacher (and Christian!) says, for many, Christmas is a holiday about the joy of getting. Sure, we're supposed to be thankful for the gift of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection. Our true joy should be in giving gifts to others, and to God. But, much of the time, it's not that way.
It's often most notable in children - mostly because they haven't been taught to restrain their enthusiasm. But adults can be just as bad. We compare - in our minds, anyway - our gifts to others. Just like our kids, we may need to be reminded to say "thank you" - and even then, we may not be sincere. Our anticipation of our "stash" has a much longer shelf-life than our gratitude for what we have.
But it isn't always that way, and it certainly doesn't please God. And my son reminded me of just this fact on Christmas Day.My parents live a few thousand miles away from us, so they shipped our gifts to us. Once we got back from my husband's parents, we sat down to open their presents.
The kids, of course, were anxious to get the presents open, and they enjoyed all the wonderful things my folks sent. They were clearly engrossed in their play.
Or maybe not so much.
As soon as I mentioned calling my parents, my son was, literally, on my heels.
"I love my Christmas presents so much, Mommy. I really want to say thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Weiner."
And I got to thinking how often I am eager and impatient for the blessings God pours on me, and how apathetic and forgetful I can be about thanking Him for them. And, of course, how much that simple fact must displease my Heavenly Father.
And again, I look to the attitude of my child to help me be more and more like my Savior--on Christmas, the day of His birth.
Heavenly Father, help me to praise and thank You for the wonderful gifts You give me as enthusiastically as I ask for them - as enthusiastically as my son sought to thank his grandparents. Help me to express my gratitude naturally, spontaneously, and authentically. Help me, Father, to continue to learn from You, and those You put before me - especially my children lately - how You want me to be. In the precious Name of Your Son I pray. Amen
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence