It’s the week of Christmas. The week the presents need to get wrapped. The week the meals need to be planned. The week travels will be made. The week you’re freaking out because the package hasn’t showed up yet. The week school is out and time moves in slow motion for the kids. When is it going to be Christmas already?
Mom, can I open one gift now? Just one? Pleasseeeeeeeeee. Is this one for me? What’s in this one? Can you give me a hint. I’m just shaking it.
Our kids are mega annoying the week of Christmas. You know what, you used to be mega annoying the week of Christmas too! We all were. As kids we were all asking if we could open our presents early. The thrilling anticipation was more than we could take sometimes. We knew something under that tree was for us, and we could hardly wait to find out.
I remember a Christmas in the late 80’s where I decided I wouldn’t wait. I just couldn’t. I had to know what was in those presents. So one day while my parents were at work, and I was home from school on Christmas break, I spent the entire day, painstakingly cutting tape and ever so carefully unwrapping presents. A wooden jewelry box, a yellow heart necklace, a flannel shirt, perfume, underwear and socks. Oh, it was so exciting to peek at each one.
But then, you know what I did next? I was so excited over the thrill of these presents, that I unwrapped everyone elses’ gifts too. My brother’s gifts. My Mom’s gift from Dad, and my Dad’s gift from Mom. I just had to know what was in every box.
Then, I spent the remainder of the day, carefully placing the paper back on each box, and taping over the previously cut tape. NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW!
Did you ever peek at your presents?
It is a well known fact, to this day, you don’t give me a gift in a gift bag with tissue paper and tell me I can’t look. Oh, I’m gonna look. The trill of anticipation turns me into a kid all over again.
So, Sis, why have we stopped asking God what he has for us? Why have we stopped trying to peek at what gifts God has aligned for us? Why aren’t we anticipating his goodness? Why aren’t we annoying the heck out of God, constantly asking, “what do you have for me here God?” “Can I open it today?” “Can I at least shake it and guess what you’ve done for me?”
When is the last time your prayers included, “God, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I sure am excited about it!!!!! Show me!”
Mark 10 tells the story of people surrounding Jesus with their children. The disciples tried to usher the children away so Jesus wouldn’t be bothered by them. Jesus became angry. Not angry at the children, but angry that the disciples thought he wouldn’t want to be bothered by children and their questions and their energy. Verse 14-16, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.”
You with all your grown up rules and boxes to check on the week of Christmas … you know what you need? You need some childlike faith! You need some childlike excitement. You need some childlike awe and wonder that believes there’s something good coming for you.
I mean, don’t you want to know what God has for you? You better show up expecting! Expecting God has been working behind the scenes. Expecting God is taking all these things you’ve been dealing with, and he is somehow using them all together to become something good. Expecting God to bless you. Expecting God to guide you. Expecting God to do miraculous things for no other reason than you are his child and he loves you.
Jesus said, “anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” What does that mean?
Think about how children view the gifts under the tree this week. They are thrilled over the box. They can’t keep their hands off the box. They want nothing more than to find out what is waiting for them in that box. They don’t know what’s coming, but they are excited about it.
And this is a picture of who we should be. Where is our awe? Where is our wonder? Where is our excitement? GOD, WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR ME? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME? I KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE SO GOOD. I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO OPEN IT ALL!
This is how we should received the kingdom of Heaven Jesus promised, and this is how we should receive the celebration of his birthday this week.
God, what is in this box for me? What’s coming?
And I’m not only excited about what God has for me, but hot dang, I’m excited about what God has for you too! Just like I got caught up in the thrill of it all and opened my entire family’s gifts that Christmas, I’m absolutely thrilled to know what God is going to do for you too. Oh, you get healing! You get miraculously restore relationships. You get a breakthrough. You get supernatural guidance. You get strength you never knew was possible. And you will finally have that door you’ve been knocking on forever to swing wide open and you will be walking into providential blessings you didn’t even know to ask for.
Oh my gosh, I’m excited about what God has for me, and I’m sooooo excited about what God has for you! I can hardly take the anticipation.
Honey, this ol’ lukewarm, “eehhhh, I’m not really into Christmas” thang isn’t cutting it! You’re not into celebrating the birth of your savior? You’re not into being saved from all your sins and promised paradise forever? You’re not into receiving gifts and being ridiculously blessed?
God asks for us to be childlike! To sit and look at life with awe and wonder, instead of rush through it thinking you have to perform in some way. To be excited over what there is for you, and anticipate sheer goodness. To shake the box. To guess what it could be. And sure, incessantly ask, “Can I open it yet? How about today? Can you give me a hint?”
Have you forgotten that Jeremiah 29:11 is more than just a feel good verse that applies to a few lucky ones. It’s a promise to you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And our childlike faith responds in awe and wonder and says, “ohhhhhhhhh, what is it Papa God? What do you have for me? Can I open it now? Can I shake it and guess? I can hardly handle the anticipation of your good plans for me!”
This is how we receive the week of Christmas. This is how we anticipate a new year of life in 2023. No more lukewarm, unimpressed, low energy, checked out, underwhelmed numbness. NO! Awe and wonder over the gifts of a good, good father who has good plans for your future and he expects you to get your hopes up over it all!
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