We are at a friend’s house and my little girl is playing with some of her friend’s Fisher Price Little People. She has them seated in tiny chairs and carefully arranged around a tiny table. I hear her sing a few lines of the blessing they taught her in the church nursery, “God our Father, once again…” I think about what a spiritual 22 month old she is until she unexpectedly exclaims, “GOLDFISH!” and I realize she is thinking about food. Apparently it is snack time in Little People land.
I love watching her play. I love hearing what she is thinking about. I love watching her expressions and hearing her sweet voice. And I want to recreate this moment all over again. I want to go out that very minute and buy some Little People for our house. And I don’t just want to give her some Little People. I want to give her ALL the Little People.
Because I love her, I want to give her anything and everything that might bring her joy. Her joy brings me joy. Our Father in heaven also wants to give us gifts that bring us joy. Thankfully, He is much wiser than we are when it comes to giving gifts. His gifts meet our deepest need and give us our greatest joy.
What are some of the good gifts that the Father gives us? In Ephesians 1:3 Paul tells us that we have been given “every spiritual blessing in Christ.” He goes on in the rest of chapter 1 to tell us what those blessings (gifts) are:
- We were chosen before the foundation of the world (verse 4).
- We have been made us holy and blameless before Him (verse 4).
- We have been adopted as sons in Christ Jesus (verse 5).
- We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ (verse 6).
- We have been forgiven of all of our sins (verse 6).
- He has made known to us the mystery of His will (verse 9).
- We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit (verse 13).
- We have a future inheritance (verse 14).
The Father does not give these spiritual blessings in Christ grudgingly, but “freely” (1:6) and according to “his pleasure and will” (1:5). They are “lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (1:8). Our Father delights to bless us. Our Father loves to give good gifts. Our Father has given us every good thing in His Son.
This Advent as you delight to give good gifts to your children, remember the love of your Father in Heaven, who gave us his Son “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12) so that we could be adopted as the sons of God. Remember the love of the Father who loved the world so much “that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Remember Him “who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
Consider the love of the Son, who left the riches and glories of heaven and “became flesh and dwelled among us” (John 1:14) so we could have a future inheritance, “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven” for us (1 Peter 1:4). Consider the love of the Son “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2) so that we could be redeemed by his blood, forgiven of all our sins, and made holy and blameless in Him. Consider the love of the Son who “made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7) so that we could be given everything. Every spiritual blessing.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/ APPLICATION:
- How does the coming of Christ combat the notion we have that God withholds good things from us?
- Which of those "good gifts" from the list in Ephesians stands out most to you?
- If we truly embraced the words of Jesus from Matthew 7 and grasp the goodness of God's gift to us in Christ, how would it change the way we pray? How would it impact what we ask for? How might it change the way that we ask?
- Christmas is often a time of wish list making. Entertain your desires for a moment. What good gifts to you long to receive for yourself? for your children?
- Spend some time in prayer praising God for his greatest gift in Jesus and the spiritual blessings that come from knowing him. Then ask him honestly for your hearts desires in accordance with his will.
Trish Shank is the wife of a PCA pastor and the mama to a beautiful two year old girl. She is a teacher of spanish, a lover of good books, a maker of puns, a frequenter of library story time, and a savvy thrift store shopper. She is passionate about biblical parenting, hospitality, and cultivating a peaceful home.