Today’s Truth

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens (James 1:17 NLT)


Friend to Friend

How do you arrange your Christmas gifts under the tree? After all, there are multiple strategies that must be considered! If you’ve got “shakers” in your family, you likely hide their gifts at the bottom of the pile. If you’ve got a “Snoopy,” like my kids, you probably keep those gifts undercover in a location that only Nancy Drew could find.

During my childhood, I described my Mom’s Christmas strategy as “Shock, Awe and Squishy.” She’d place my most-longed-for gift in front of the tree, usually unwrapped. Mom hovered by with her camera to capture the enraptured look on my stunned face.

Then, it was time for the squishy gifts. These were the lumpy, soft-wrapped packages that showed up every year: underwear and socks. Mom was just as excited about the squishy packages as she was about my big gift. Me? Not so much. I had to work much harder to manufacture a smile while opening a new package of thermal underwear. Wow. Thanks, Mom…

But Mom knew. While the trendy toys or clothing items changed each year, Mom made sure that I received those thick, squishy gifts because she wanted to protect me, keep me healthy and growing strong. However, I didn’t recognize the value of those less dazzling gifts until I was much older.

In our Christian lives, we ask God for gifts that reflect our wants and desires, like a certain type of home, job, income, opportunity, or dream. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for those things. In fact, God invites us to ask Him.

Yet, Today’s Truth offers a powerful insight into God as a giver. God’s best gifts have eternal value, so they never break down, go out of style or are out of stock. Consider the phrase, “whatever is good and perfect is a gift.” In the original Greek language, the word “good” reflects the flow of the nature of God to us and then, through us, out to others. The original language for the word “perfect” describes the development of our Christian character. Putting those together means that the gifts that God gives you from heaven come with the purpose of equipping you to live complete in Christ, and as a consequence of your Christian character, you will have an eternal impact on the lives of others.

Some of God’s best gifts are peace, grace, joy, purpose, hope and love. However, these gifts don’t come in a box, with a gift card or with download instructions. Rather, these gifts tend to show up in various ugly or unpopular wrapping papers of difficult or painful circumstances

Too often, we judge God’s goodness or His love by what we think He’s giving us. God isn’t the one giving you heartache, your dysfunctional family, pain, rebellious children, a difficult job, or a chronic illness. Sadly, that’s the painful price of sin (Romans 6:23). Yet, God promises that He has good things waiting when you believe and follow His ways through your circumstances. The gifts that God gives us from Himself are for our blessing, and also so that we can be a blessing, too! Isn’t that wonderful? As you look past the ugly wrapping paper and allow yourself to experience God’s good gifts in your life, you’ll be a light of His goodness to those around you.

As you prepare for the Christmas season, can you think of the gifts you’ve experienced from God that you can’t purchase anywhere else? How have those gifts blessed you, and in return, how have you been able to bless others?


Let’s Pray

God, You are the Giver of all good things! Thank You for giving me what I need, even when I don’t always like the package that it comes in. As I walk through today’s challenges, help me to see with fresh eyes how You’ve blessed me, and I pray for an opportunity to be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

What were some of your favorite gifts as a kid? Looking back, can you recall any gifts you didn’t appreciate at the time?

Can you identify any gifts that God has given you that weren’t requested, but gifts that have blessed your life far beyond anything tangible or earthly?


More From the Girlfriends

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This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom feeling like you need to earn God’s love or forgiveness. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.

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4 Responses to “What’s Under God’s Giving Tree?”

  1. Trish says:

    Thank you , Barb, for this beautiful reminder this morning.
    When my boys, three of them, were growing up they always found socks and underwear under the tree along with some of their wants, and other needs.
    When they were older they would jest that it’s just not Christmas without socks and underwear!
    You have given me the challenge to try to find the “squishy” gifts God has given me.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Carola says:

    El regalo que no pedí y Dios me dió es AMIGAS.

  3. Carol says:

    Merry Christmas Barb!
    Loved this morning devotional! And your challenge to remember long past Christmas gifts!
    My Mom was like yours; PJs, underwear and socks, usually every year for the needs, “Ok… thanks Mom for the underwear?!”
    And, one year(I am first generation to have one, now, I’m showing my age!)) I drove my parents crazy for a “Barbie” doll. That was a special gift, that made my Christmas.
    But,there was that one gift I gave to my blessed Aunt. It was a new wool and cashmere blend, winter coat with animal print collar and cuffs. She was so surprised and happy.
    Years later, when she passed, my younger cousin (her grand daughter) told me at her funeral; that she appreciated the things I’d given to my aunt. Then she realized, that though far away, someone in the family was looking out for her grandmother.
    That, was the gift that God gave me and showed me the true meaning of of Gal. 6:2 “Carry the burdens of others, and by doing this you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
    It showed me that something so small, any kind gesture at Christmas, is a big deal in the building of the body of Christ.
    Blessings to all at this special time of year!

  4. Kathy says:

    Thank you for today’s devotional

    Reminding me even more that God is first and foremost and all the decorations are last
    First and foremost
    God bless you

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