“Do you know what you are getting for Christmas, Caleb?” I asked.
“No, I don’t,” replied Caleb. “We didn’t have time to plan for Christmas.”
Being far, far, far away from our South African home and traveling for the greater part of December as part of our missionary connection life in the US, Caleb was correct. We didn’t have the opportunity to participate in our annual Christmas traditions. We didn’t even have time to ask the kids what they wanted for Christmas this year. Instead, due to these very real time constraints; John and I made some executive decisions about what each of our sons would receive for Christmas.
Do you know what happened?
Did our sons turn up their noses at the sight of their gifts?
Did our sons grimace and groan when they opened their presents?
Did our sons throw their gifts away in disgust?
In fact, even as Caleb, Jake, and Micah admitted that they had no idea what their gifts would be this year, when they opened each Christmas present, there were incredulous, happy, contented, and thankful acknowledgments. Each gift was an affirmation of who each of our sons are and a recognition of what they most need at this junction of their lives.
You know what?
I think our Heavenly Father gives affirming, helpful, and needed gifts like John and I gave to our sons on Christmas day, too. The difference is that our Lord’s gifts are not limited to just one day of the year.
The Lord supplies us with what is most needed at the most necessary hour.
In a few days, we step into a new year and launch into a new decade.
How do you feel about that?
Are you hopeful for 2020?
Are you expectantly delighted for the birth of a New Year?
Are you excited for what is coming next – even if you don’t know what it is?
For Micah, Jake and Caleb, as they opened their Christmas gifts, their excited, expectant, and hope-filled attitudes demonstrated their trust and hope in us – their gift-givers. At no time, were they worried that their surprise presents would turn out to be lumps of coal or white elephants. They believed that John and I would bless them with something – just for them.
In the same way, our Heavenly Father is about to present us with the New Year. 2020 is a beautifully wrapped gift with a big, blue bow.
None of us know what is inside this package yet.
The question for each of us is this
What will our attitude be as our year is unwrapped?
For me, my hope is that I will be content.
If you’ve been following along with my blog posts in recent months, I’ve been learning what the Bible says about contentment.
One key point that I’ve taken to heart is that contentment is a display of strength. For contentment is undergirded with the strength and fortitude we need to live independent of external circumstances.
Imagine that for a moment.
As we unwrap the month of January, our state of mind, our attitude, our disposition, our walk-and-our-talk are calm, satisfied, and settled in the truth that our God has given us what is most needed and necessary at this junction in our lives. Even if a lump of coal or a white elephant is presented, we are given the graces of the Holy Spirit – faith, hope, love, peace, joy, strength – to bear and to carry us through it all.
How is this possible?
We choose to acknowledge this truth:
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
New International Version, 1 Timothy 6:6
The one who presses into the godliness and holiness of Christ and all the graces of the Holy Spirit that are found in Christ, we will not only be content in this life and the life to come, but we will thrive in this world and the one to come, as well.
Who doesn’t want to thrive???
This is the key to our spiritual growth and to our spiritual lives. Our personal fulfillment is realized when we honor our God and Heavenly Father and center our hopes, desires, and dreams upon Him – trusting Him to give us what we most need at the most perfect time.
I want to live a life like this – thriving with hope and expectation, living with a contented spirit and experiencing peace of mind as each month is unwrapped in 2020.
Again, how is way of life that possible?
The key is found in being content.
We express our gratitude and have thankful hearts.
We submit to the will of God.
We bear whatever comes our way.
And we trust in our God to provide all that we need to see us through this new year and the age to come.
This is how we will thrive.
This is how we will live.
This is how we show the world about us that Jesus has a 2020 package for them to open, too. And inside is all that they need and all that we need to live a glorious, hope-filled life in Christ.
I’m ready to open 2020!