Today I have been pondering the gifts I didn’t give rather than those I didn’t get. (gifts not gotten was yesterday’s post) And I have to admit – I have missed the mark when it comes to gifts given. Even with the example of the Wise King’s gift giving before me, I don’t measure up. I can learn, however, from the Master Gift Giver, my Heavenly Father. He definitely showed us amateurs how it’s done when He gave us Jesus, His only Son, that first Christmas night so long ago.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) But God’s gifts to us don’t end there.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)
“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)
So that’s how it’s done – every gift good, every gift perfect. I can’t possibly live up to that, it is much too high a standard. Besides I don’t have all that much that I am able to give many gifts anyway. And yet in Matthew 10:8 I am reminded,
“Freely you have received, freely give.”
What have I neglected to give to others this Advent season? What are the gifts I didn’t give? Forgiveness comes first to mind. Forgiveness is a gift I can give to anyone, to everyone, even to those who don’t ask for such a gift. What regret I feel, if have have forgotten to give the gift of forgiveness to anyone this Advent season.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Which reminds me that kindness and compassion are two more gifts that I could have given more often and to more people. These two gifts are always well received because each one of us so desperately desires to receive kindness and compassion from others. Now that I think about it, there are so many gifts I could have given without worrying that they would not be wanted, welcomed or appreciated. (no wrong sizes, colors, brands, or just the wrong item itself) I could have given the gifts of understanding, a word of encouragement to a coworker, a listening ear to a friend, my time, my attention, a helping hand to someone in need, sympathy to the mourning, an invitation to inclusion to the uninvited, – these are all gifts I possess because they have been given to me in abundance by my Heavenly Father.
I could have given more gifts of grace and mercy to those around me. Each one of us longs to be the recipient of gifts such as grace and mercy. Why would I not give these as gifts when I have an unlimited supply from my Heavenly Father who showers me every day with forgiveness, grace and mercy? I will not run out because my Heavenly Father’s supply of these things is infinite.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your (His) faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Why did I not give out more gifts of grace and mercy and compassion and forgiveness than I did? My regret today, is not the gifts I got nor the gifts I gave, but it is the gifts I didn’t give – gifts that are in my possession and power to give. May I never hold back giving the gifts my Heavenly Father has given me, but freely give as He has freely given to me all things, when He gave me the gift of His Son, Jesus.
“His divine power has given us (me) everything we (I) need for life and godliness through our (my ) knowledge of Him who called us (me) by His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
my Heavenly Father has given me everything I need to live this life – let me not neglect to give gifts to others – out of the abundance God has given me, let me give as He gives –
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 30:18)
sincerely, Grace Day