Can you imagine turning round to almighty God, who has given us a good gift, and telling him he’s given us something that will either make us sin or is just plain bad for us? (one for the teetotallers among us to chew on.) But, of course, it applies to all of us. We can so easily call bad what God calls good and refuse to enjoy what God has given us to enjoy as though we are either more holy than him or just might offend him if we enjoy the thing he gave us.
As we’re heading into Christmas, no doubt many of us are thinking about presents. Not just the presents we might like to get but the various presents we will buy for others. There is something especially lovely about thinking about others, what they might like, and seeing them really enjoy the thing that you bought them.
There wouldn’t be much that would disappoint me more than spending an absolute fortune on some amazing gift for my children only for them never to play with it. Obviously, if I miss the mark and get them something they don’t want that’s more frustration with myself that I either didn’t know them well enough or just got it wrong (shout out to all the folks who bought someone a football top because you know they support ‘a red team’ and inadvertently buy a Man Utd shirt for a Liverpool fan!) But I am even more disappointed if I get them something I know they’ll love – and they do love it and thank me for it – but still they never play with or use it. That doesn’t please me at all!
The reason I get my kids presents – and not only my kids, but my nieces and nephews, my parents and my friends – is because I want them to enjoy it. I don’t really have many skills of any use whatsoever, but one thing I’m alright at is getting presents. I don’t always get it right, but more often than not, I can generally land a decent gift. Even where I don’t hit the bullseye, I think most people can at least see why I thought the gift was a good idea for them. The execution may not be bang on, but the thought behind it (I hope) is clear enough. I like it when people really enjoy the gifts I get them and I can cope if they tell me I didn’t hit the mark but they get why I thought it might. I don’t mind really if people are honest and tell me they just didn’t really like what I got them altogether (they’re grateful for the thought but please don’t get a carpet sample catalogue again!) But I am most disappointed of all by the present that is received with great joy, one I know they really do want, but they just refuse to play with it or use it.
Just imagine, this Christmas, you buy your kids an absolutely fantastic gift. You know they want it and you absolutely know they’ll enjoy it. They unwrap it on Christmas Day and they are so pleased. They love it. It’s just what they wanted. But because it’s so special to them, they never use it. They just keep saying, ‘thank you for the gift’ over and over to you. When you encourage them to use it, they tell you it’s far too special. They just kind of stare at it, repeatedly telling you how grateful they are for it, but never actually enjoying it.