I love Christmas time. It's a very festive season in our home. I try to put some form of Christmas in every room of the house. Christmas towels, Christmas wreaths, Christmas candles, Christmas pine cones, Christmas blankets and pillows, Christmas bows, and Christmas garland. It's like a Christmas explosion. Decorating for Christmas is something I enjoy and have gotten pretty good at doing. But there is something I struggle doing during the Christmas season. I am terrible at it! Christmas gifts. When Christmas rolls around, it's like I have forgotten everything I ever knew about a person. My mind goes blank. I have no idea what to get them.
My husband, on the other hand, is the most amazing gift giver. He always seems to come up with the perfect gift. It isn't just the gift that he gets that excites me. It's the heart and attitude with which he gets the gift. He gets so excited! He carefully picks out presents based on what he knows about the person. He hunts and hunts until he finds exactly what he is looking for. When he gives the gift, he stands there with a big grin on his face, staring and waiting for the person's reaction. When the person bubbles over with joy, my husband's face lights up like a Christmas tree. You would think he was the one who received the gift!
Psalm 40:6 "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required."
What does God want? What gift is He looking to receive? When He opens up our gifts to Him, what is He looking for?
Is He looking for an obligatory gift? Is He pleased when we give Him something that we feel we have to give?
- The mandatory church attendance and the required offering in the offering plate?
- The unavoidable song as everyone stands in the congregation?
- The compulsory prayer before a meal or before bed?
- The quickly read verse done out of necessity?
What does He want?
Have you ever received a gift that you knew the person only gave it because they felt they had to? It wasn't heartfelt. It was merely given out of a sense of obligation. I have received those kinds of gifts. I have also given them many times. It makes me feel so shallow. And it should!
What makes my husband such a great gift giver?
1) He thinks about the person, who they are, and what matters to them.
When we give to the Lord, we need to do the same thing. What is God like? What matters to Him?
Psalm 40:5 "Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."
Do we realize how much God thinks about us? Do we realize how much He does for us each and every day? Do we realize what He has already done for us? He dotes on us. He treasures us. He loves us deeply! So what kind of gifts would matter to Him?
2) He gives out of a desire to please the receiver of the gift.
Psalm 40:8 "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
David didn't do things out of obligation. He delighted in pleasing the Lord. It was in his heart! It was his passion and desire. It isn't just the gift that matters. It's the heart with which we give the gift.
What gifts does our God want? What is His desire? He wants us. He wants our hearts. He wants us to delight in Him and in serving Him.
When my husband gives me a gift, I certainly enjoy the gift, but what I enjoy more than anything is seeing the joy and excitement plastered across his face as he gives the gift. His heart is in it because he loves me.
What does our Father in Heaven want? He doesn't want us just to sing. He wants us to wholeheartedly praise Him in song.
Psalm 40:3 "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."
He doesn't want us to just sacrifice and give offerings. He wants us to delight in serving Him. He wants to look on our faces and our hearts and see our joy as we give to Him gifts of love, praise, trust, and service.
Do we give Him obligatory gifts? Or are we searching out the perfect gifts to give to Him with joy?