It takes a few hours to wrap all our family's Christmas gifts.
While wrapping today, my thoughts turned towards gifts and all that I know and believe about them.
Gifts are good.
Not only good, gifts are even Godly.
God is the Source of all the things we have, and He is most generous.
It's out of His abundance the universe was created.
It is from His being that we have our existence.
God pours unmerited gifts on His Creation and its creatures, and all the best things in life originate in Him.
Scripture says, "Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father in Heaven." James 1:17
Human parents are like God when we give our children good gifts.
Jesus said, "If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?" Matthew 7:11
I am delighted to give my kids mostly everything on their Christmas lists this year, because mostly everything they asked for is good.
God, unlike us human parents, is a truly perfect Father, so we can ask Him for good things and trust that these things will come to us or that, if they don't come to us, God has good reasons to withhold them.
We can pray confidently to God for what we want, knowing He has promised to give us good gifts, but that doesn't always mean that God will give us everything we ask for.
I wouldn't give my kids everything they want, especially if I didn't think the stuff they wanted was good or if I didn't believe they would use the gifts in the right ways.
This could be why we don't get what we ask God for in prayer.
God may withhold gifts precisely because God is good and because we are bad.
The Bible says, "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:3
God, being perfect, is certainly perfect at judging what we should and shouldn't have.
God might not give us what we want because what we want might actually hinder, harm, or ruin us.
A cozy gaming chair ensures that a teenage son will be comfortable playing video games for hours.
A makeup desk ensures a teenage daughter can sit comfortably applying her makeup.
But will that dear son be too comfortable gaming to enjoy anything else?
Will that beautiful daughter be encouraged toward vanity and pride?
In our foolish blindness, by next Christmas, we will complain and fret that our sons aren't interested in anything but video games and our daughters are so self-conscious about their appearance that they are afraid to engage in life.
We need God's wisdom when we choose gifts for our children.
It's so easy to get it wrong.
God would never give us gifts that would put obstacles in our way.
We don't want to make the best things harder for our children because of our "gifts."
Lord, may our gifts not be millstones.
May these gifts be true blessings.
Perhaps it's better, after all, that sons have less-than-optimal gaming set-ups.
Perhaps it's best, after all, that daughters have to lean far, far over the bathroom counter and get an ache in their necks in order to apply their makeup.
There are gifts I have planned and chosen for my kids that they didn't ask for, that they don't even know about yet, that I want them to have because I'm in a position to will these good things into their lives.
It is the same with God.
He gives to each of us as He wills.
He divides the portions, talents, gifts, faith in the measure He ordains for each of us.
It is not for us to compare our portion with the portions of others.
But we are to receive His gifts with thankfulness, trusting, believing we were given what we have in perfect love.
And now we give God's gifts back to Him by using them well.