Yesterday, Andy and I finally headed out together to do some Christmas shopping for Story. It was pure joy for me to circle around the toy store, looking for just the right items for my little one. This week, I'll spend time wrapping them, even though I know she's just going to tear it all off. A couple of gifts have come for her in the mail, so she's starting to get the hang of things. She looks at the package and gives one of her "Wows" and then carefully (with my help) disassembles the paper and tape.
This morning, I'm thinking about God, my Father, and the gifts that He has given to me. I have this image of Him going around Heaven's store-house of blessings, selecting gifts, big and small, that He knows are just right for me. I think His eyes must have welled up with tears when He gave me my black and white puppy in 2002. And I imagine that He was about to bust with excitement when I walked into an Irish pub in March 2009 and met the love of my life. It sort of reminds me of that last gift on Christmas morning- the one that Dad hides away in an unexpected spot. I see my Father laughing a big belly laugh over what happened at Paddy's on March 3.
I don't know if any of those images are real, but I don't know that they aren't. God identifies Himself as my Father. Jesus surely paints a picture of a passionate, engaged Dad in the story of the prodigal son. A Dad who breaks into a sprint when He sees His son on his way home. I think that's the kind of Dad who would also have a good laugh over a surprise gift or weep tears of joy over one that will restore and heal.
I do believe that God gives special blessings of material things and relationships along the way, but what I can always count on God to give me is the Holy Spirit. Christmas is a time for special gifts, but I need to give to Story every day. She needs love, approval, encouragement, and physical care each and every day. Me too. I need the same exact things, and then some.
When I drive to school in the morning, I ask God to give me the Holy Spirit. I ask for patience, wisdom, joy, love, order, truth and on and on. I ask because I'm empty. I ask because the place that I go into is filled with needy, broken humans... just like me. Every day that I ask, He gives. Just like Jesus said He would.
Father, You are indeed a giver of good gifts! Sometimes You pick out something or someone so perfect to be a part of my life. Thank you. I love the gifts that You have picked out and given to me. And thank You for what You give to me every day. The patience and strength and endurance to work with high school students and not completely crumble. You alone provide this for me, my God. Thank you. All glory to You, my generous Father. And thank you, thank you, thank you for the Gift of Jesus. Without Him, I wouldn't know the depths of Your love for me. Help me to receive Him as I ought. Amen.