We’ve just wrapped up in the penultimate season of gift giving. A common discussion after Christmas is reflecting upon what we have received with others. We compare our gifts with what we hope to receive and contrast them with the gifts we gave. Perhaps one of the reasons we do so is that we want to see how much reality reflects our hopes – whether the items on our “wish list” actually made it into our living rooms.
James 1:17 tells us of the gifts that God gives – or more specifically the types of gifts that God bestows on us. “Every good and perfect gift is from above,” writes the author, reminding us that nothing we have received which is good comes from any other sources. God gives good gifts and for those of us who have grown up in the church, acknowledging Him as the giver of that which is good is fairly common practice. It is the reason why we pray before meals (or at least it should be) and the reason we exclaim, “praise God” when good news is received.
It is however, important to recognize that the gifts that God gives are good beyond just their inherent worth. They are good, because they reflect some part of God’s character. Reflect back on the gifts that you’ve recently thanked God for. Do they not reflect His mercy, His forgiveness, His love or His generosity? Isn’t there some part of Him that is reverberated through these blessings?
Similarly, when faced with bad situations, these circumstances not only often compel us to seek our Father and therefore drive us into a deeper relationship with Him, but they also remind us of the pain, despair, and destitution of live without God. They too are a reflection, a reflection of what we’ve been saved from.
May we continue the practice of regularly thanking God for the gifts He’s given. And may we do so not just because we enjoy or delight in the gift, but because they demonstrate the holy character of the Giver.