Giving Good Gifts

And my God will supply all your needs 
according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:19

Today I was folding clothes. There in my basket were several pieces of clothing that my husband and I got for Christmas, and I smiled. I thought to myself, “If only more children could learn the lesson of these Christmas presents, the world would be a more content place.”

You see, during the first 20 years of our marriage, Steve and I were broke. We officially lived beneath the poverty level for many years, even a few while we were in pastoral ministry. We were on government assistance programs for a time when we were young, but as soon as we felt we could afford it, and even though we still qualified, we decided to trust God to keep His Philippians 4:19 promise to supply all our needs.

During most of the time our girls lived at home, Christmas giving was at a bare minimum. Each year when I took the girls shopping, they rotated the gifts they bought Daddy. He needed underwear, socks and slippers every year. So, those made for practical gifts. The girls got to pick out the gift even if it was just the color or the package, but that was the gift. Steve acted surprised and was genuinely appreciative to replace the holey socks and underwear in his drawer.

Today we’ve moved into a more blessed place financially, as have our children. But still, nearly every year, we’ll find socks and underwear in our stockings or under the tree. When I find those staples on the lists of the worst gifts, I wish I could explain to the world how blessed they’d be if they learned to appreciate those necessities as appropriate gifts.

I know they aren’t exciting, and perhaps in my family, they’ve become tradition, so they’re dear. But even in my extended family, as we grow to understand every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father, we want less and appreciate more. Even though we can afford bigger and better, we still find handmade gifts, jars of home canned food, homemade noodles, pierogis, cookies and more. One of my grandchildren got a bucket of rocks and painting supplies this year. It was simple and inexpensive, but she loved it, and she’ll paint rocks to hide for the next six months!

I pray this year more families will begin to appreciate the simple things in life. As children begin to see socks and underwear, crayons and drawing pads as beautiful, thoughtful gifts, they’ll become even more appreciative of the big ticket items. When we truly believe God supplies all our needs, we’ll begin to notice we have very few “wants,” our wish list gets shorter and we cherish the presents the world thinks are worthless. And isn’t that attitude a tremendous gift to pass down to your children?

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