by Gelly McAuliffe-Bunker
“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
As Christmas time draws closer, although July just seems like a week or three ago, our thoughts turn to gifts. The well-prepared are possibly up to, or have completed, gift wrapping. For the rest of us, seeking a well-matched gift is still before us. No, I don’t have wisdom to share on the “perfect” site. Instead, let’s turn to the Perfect Father.
What does God give 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” (Jas 1:17 ESV).
God is the generous gift-giver. He equips us with gifts to share. Further, He lavishes His love on us, even when we are most undeserving. In fact, it is often when we feel most undeserving that we most need the assurance of God’s amazing love.
In our love relationships, are we able to offer gifts with “no variation or shadow due to change”? Or do we hold on to grudges? Yes, we sometimes get upset with one another. Yes, disagreements and differences of opinion can cause division. Do we allow differences to grow unchecked? Let us remember that this is a person we love. This is an image bearer of God whom He placed in our lives to love. Gift from that love (1 Cor 13:7).
God’s generous gifts also include peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27 ESV). Does that mean that peace constantly envelopes us and we need never fear? Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He did not say “Your hearts will not be troubled.” Can you see the difference? We need to allow our hearts to experience the Lord’s peace. Yes, God’s peace can envelope us, but we need to be open to that possibility. God’s peace can reign and we need not have fear.
In his letter, James acknowledges God’s gift of wisdom in a similar way. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting …” (Jas 1:5-6b ESV). Like peace, we are to claim God’s answer to our prayer for wisdom. What happens when we doubt? “… the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (Jas 1:6c-8 ESV).
We choose to open our minds, hearts, and spirits to what God offers. Yes, that represents a humble and vulnerable openness. But it is safe. Why, you ask? Because our good, good Father only showers us with good gifts.
““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 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!” (Matt 7:7-11 ESV)
This Christmas, receive with an open heart God’s loving gift of grace, the Lord Jesus. And this Christmas, sincerely care for those God has included among you. In this way, we can be God’s loving gift to others.
Gelly Nic seeks to share God’s Word with others, that each may know and experience the incredible love and faithfulness of our God, who draws near to us as we draw near to Him (Jas 4:8). Her heart prayer is that those on the margins would find grace and true fellowship in God, and with His people.