Good Gifts

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? . . . If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

(Luke 11:11–13, NIV)

I debated whether to share with you an uplifting Christmas memory of mine or a sad one.  Wait a moment, how else would a real Charles Dickens story be told…

Sadly, my parents divorced when I was about 11. After my dad left, my mom tried desperately to maintain a sense of normalcy for my younger brother, sister, and me. My dad was in every way gone after the divorce. Most times that was okay, but there were times when it really stunk. We had very little money, and my mom at one point worked three jobs so we could just survive. However, we always seemed to have one or two nice gifts at Christmas; nicer than I expected given our circumstances. I remember wishing it was because my dad was secretly providing for us. That thought made me feel better about my dad. But, one Christmas, after my dad had been gone for years, I remember finding at the front door a brown paper sack marked “From Dad.” As I looked inside with anticipation, I found dated, mis-sized, mismatched, previously worn socks. Reality stinks. That was what our dad was willing or able to give his children for Christmas.

Perhaps, it was that sad reality that helped me feel drawn to our heavenly Father.

I have found in God an extremely generous Father willing and able to provide everything I could ever need. He has given me His Holy Spirit to take up residence in my life; He has faithfully given His Word in the trustworthy Scriptures for my growth; He has creatively assembled a loving community and given me a place in it; He has sacrificially given His Son, the Christ-child, for my sins… He has not withheld anything good from me.

God is a good Father who gives really good gifts to His children… join me this Christmas season, as I celebrate that reality!