Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Delighting in God's Good Gifts This Christmas

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Element5 Digital

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” ~Philippians 4:4

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!” ~Psalm 150:1-2

Living in the midst of a dark and broken world where there is  heartache, brokenness, sin, and despair, sometimes throwing Christmas parties or engaging in holiday celebrations can feel wrong.  But I want to encourage you this week that it is still okay to celebrate, throw parties, be happy, and rejoice! 

In fact, our God is a God of celebration, and He

tells us to give thanks in all things. This is what He wants for us!

What makes so much of this feel a little awkward, however, is the social media age in which we

live. Sometimes it feels icky when amazingly wonderful things happen to you, especially in this

trying age of comparison overload. Sharing about your new husband, new baby, new job, new house, new ministry,  etc. isn’t quite so bad in real life and in person with your friends and family. But what about online? Online it seems different. People are always comparing their daily life to the highlight reel you put up on your Instagram. They are struggling with infertility and see the picture of your new baby. They are yearning to be married and see your wedding photo. They are yearning to move out of their apartment and see the new house you just bought. They are lonely and needing friends and see you posting about your amazing Christian community. Thensets in all the jealousy and judgment, with the questions of Why her? and Why not me?

What are we supposed to do about all this? What are we supposed to do specifically this

Christmas season? Should we not post a picture of our freshly-decorated home? Should we

not share about the Christmas party we just went to or our little one’s first Christmas outfit, or

the gift we were so excited to receive because we don’t want to upset others by posting?

Whether or not we ought to be posting all those things on social media all the time, I don’t

know. I think it all comes down to heart motive and whether or not you are seeking to give God

glory for what He is doing and foster closer friendships with your online community through

sharing about everyday life, or whether you are seeking to impress or one-up others. What I do

know is this: God is the giver of good gifts (James 1:17).

And, because of that, He wants you to enjoy the good gifts He has given! He was the One who

gave them to you, after all! He receives glory, honor, and praise when you delight in His good

gifts, and to do otherwise because you are afraid of what someone else might think about what

you have received is to issue forth a proverbial slap to the face of God. He didn’t give you good

gifts in this life so that you would puff yourself up about how blessed you are, but neither did

He give them to you for you to then turn around and disdain the fact that you were given them

while someone else was not.

Remember that God has a plan. He knows what He is doing. And as He chooses to bestow on

His children any good gifts at all (and, if we were to look around Ann Voskamp style, we would

see more of the myriad little gifts He sends to all of us every single day!), He delights to see our

enjoyment of them. As a parent, He delights in seeing His children “Oooh” and “Aaaah” over

what He has given to them.

Not only that, but we see throughout Scripture that our God is a God of celebration! Jesus’ first

miracle was performed at a wedding celebration. The Lord sings over His creation. Our being

ushered into His Kingdom - when time as we know it ends and our eternity begins - will be

commemorated and celebrated with a huge feast, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. God

showed his displeasure when Michal criticized her husband, King David, for dancing in

celebration to the Lord. The admonitions to rejoice, give thanks, and sing are all throughout the

Bible. Our God is a God of celebration, and as His people - His image bearers - we can be

given to celebration, as well. In fact, I dare say we not only can be, but should be!

So, yes, on this day and every day, be careful to never become haughty over gifts you are

given nor drawn toward comparison and jealousy when you see others being given good gifts.

Instead, delight in what the Lord has lovingly and wisely given to you and know that you can

feel peace about celebrating what God is doing in your life. In fact, He wants you to!

Reflection Questions:

1) What good gifts are you praising God for this Christmas season?

2) What good gifts are you still yearning for? How can you grow in our yearning for the Giver of all good gifts instead?

3) What might it look like to rejoice in your good gifts - even online - in a tasteful way? How have you allowed the concerns of others to keep you from rejoicing over what God has done for you? 

4) Are there ways in which you have inappropriately rejoiced and rubbed someone else's nose in what they don't have that you do? Does reconciliation need to be pursued? What might you need to do?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful and very sensible post. I agree, God wants us to enjoy this life, not to endure it as if it was a painful exercise we have to go through in preparation for eternity. Many Christians do God a disservice by going around with long faces and always complaining. That is hardly going to encourage others towards Christianity.

    God bless always.


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