My youngest daughter scanned the book fair shelves with care, looking intently for one particular book in a whole wide sea of books.
She wasn’t shopping for herself, though.
Our kids draw names for Christmas every year and each one excitedly plans out what gifts to give to their “chosen” sibling.
So, my youngest girl was shopping for her oldest sister, and she was doing it with great intentionality.
A few days previously, we had all come looking through the book fair goodies to see what was there and what we might like. That’s when she watched as her big sister, Victoria, made a huge pile of Christmas book requests.
Then, we took pictures of every single book Victoria asked for so we’d remember.
Now, here we were on present-buying day, with a seven-year-old looking for one book in particular from her sister’s epically long list.
She felt exultant when she found that perfect gift for her sister.
But I felt deeply sad.
Because her older sisters did not know and did not see how much attention she paid to the wishlist, how hard she looked for the right present, and how excited she was to finally find it so she could make her sister happy.
In fact, they didn’t trust her.
I’d heard them whispering with disappointment when they found out she was buying for one of them.
Finally, my older daughter confessed the day before that she just knew she’d get a rotten gift this year since her younger sister was picking it out. Why couldn’t someone else be buying for her this year, someone who would pick a good gift?
These older sisters cruelly discounted her without giving her a chance. They judged her gift without ever even opening it.
They did not believe any gift she could give them would be good.
Still, whether it’s deserved or not, on Christmas morning, a seven-year-old girl is going to give her oldest sister a wrapped gift that she picked out herself. And it will be a good gift, a perfect gift. It will be a gift of grace.
I might even cry a little.
After all, we also have a way of doubting our own Good Giver at times.
James tells us:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV
The book of Matthew also says:
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 ESV
God gives us good and perfect gifts. Not only that. He doesn’t give begrudgingly or out of obligation. He loves to bless us. It brings Him joy.
I don’t always feel that. Sometimes I feel like I’m begging for scraps of blessing from beneath a heavenly table. Don’t forget me, God! I’m here, too!
God’s heart isn’t to ignore us or bless everyone around us and give us the leftovers of his favor and attention.
We just don’t always see or recognize or take the time to be grateful for the gifts He gives.
Christmas reminds us that God gives perfect gifts to His children, even if they are unexpected or packaged in disguise.
Jesus Christ, the “indescribable gift,” came in humble wrappings. It wasn’t fancy packages, ribbons or bows that caught the attention of the shepherds or touched Mary’s heart (2 Corinthians 9:15).
It was God giving Himself.
And while many expected a Messiah to have worldly position and power, God’s plan overthrew expectations. He came low.
Isn’t this the most precious part of this gift? That Jesus came down to us, He came to be accessible and within reach.
He was the gift no one fully expected, but all of us truly needed.
Max Lucado wrote:
There was not a hint of one person who was afraid to draw near him. There were those who mocked him, were envious of him, and misunderstood him. There were those who revered him. But no one considered him too holy or too divine to touch. There was not one person who was reluctant to approach him for fear of being rejected (In the Manger)
Maybe we’re doubting God as a giver this year. We wonder about His timing. We wonder about His plans for us.
We may question His heart and struggle to feel loved.
But God gave us a Good Gift and God still gives us good gifts.
We can trust Him.