Wednesday, December 24, 2003

My Chrsitmas Wish 

I love to give.

However, that doesn't mean that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It usually means that it is one of the most frustrating times of the year. I struggle with this.

Why do I get so frustrated at this time of the year?

Maybe it's a frustration that comes from the obligation of giving. I've always commented to those who respond to a gift, "You didn’t have to do this,” with “If I thought I had to, I wouldn’t."

Maybe it's the frustration of wanting to give a gift that others would view as excessive. When I was 14 or 15 I gave my parents a nice "expensive" gift. I had saved some money and could afford to spend more than my sister. Mom and Dad enjoyed the gift. My sister was hurt. She felt her gift was useless in comparison.

Maybe it is the lack of surprise. One of the joys of giving is the surprise one experiences because it is unexpected. I enjoy seeing the surprise of the unexpected.

This year is particularly hard. I want to be generous but I’m experiencing some great frustration with some of my family. It's hard to be generous and frustrated at the same time.

Each year Sara and I make a list of people that we are going to get gifts for. Then we ask, "What gift would they have fun receiving?" In most cases we are able to finish the list with ease and with anticipation that we will really enjoy giving the gift selected.

However, this year the list was bare and aggravation set in quickly. We couldn't think of gifts because our view was clouded by the irritation of frustration.

It is interesting that sometimes we see God dealing with the same irritations. Seemingly at times it is hard for Him to be generous because of His frustration with us. (e.g. the stories of Israel and the promise land, Hosea, Noah)

However, the Gift of the Christ Child came in a moment of history when the obligation had worn from the years. The time was pregnant with for surprise. And, it was an excessive gift wrapped in a paper bag. The timing was beautiful.

In the middle of Hosea the anger of God is building to a frenzy. God is going to punish (destroy) His people for their disobedience. And then there is a phrase that changes the entire mood of the book. “But I am God, not man.”

In this one phrase God explains that even in frustration He cannot help but to be generous. His logic is skewed because of His generous nature.

My Christmas wish…that someday it would be said about me, “he so loved the world that he gave.”

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