"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15)

I am sitting in my favorite chair, looking across the family room at the gifts that are already under the Christmas tree. It is true that my cat has already tried to unwrap them, and many are now lacking bows and tags as a result of her capers. Nonetheless, each of those boxes, bags and packages, each envelope and each tube speaks of one thing: The giving of gifts.

I believe that we need to look at these gifts from two different perspectives: the perspective of the giver, and the perspective of the receiver.

From the giver's perspective, gifts are given for two basic reasons: Because the giver knows the receiver wants to receive the gift, or because the giver knows the receiver needs to receive the gift.

And from the receiver’s perspective, some of the gifts will be appreciated, and some will not. Some will procure the thoughts of: "What will I ever do with that?" while others, we simply wish we could give back.

God is a continual gift-giver. As we think about life, we see that God gives us gifts every day. Some of these gifts are things we want, and these we embrace with a big, "Thank You!" These may include that new job or promotion. It may include an answer to prayer, a new baby, a renewed relationship, freedom from addictions, from bullying, from temptation. It may include new and exciting opportunities, and to all these, we say, "Thank You, God, for giving these indescribable gifts!"

But there are also other "gifts" that are given to us that cause us to scratch our heads and say, "what will I ever do with this?" In light of the recent blanket of snow that was dumped on our region this past week, a snowstorm comes to my mind as something I didn't know I wanted and have no idea how I will use. So does a common cold, a sprained ankle, a temporary strike at work, a flooded basement, a burned dinner, etc. I'm sure each of you could think of many other examples of things we receive that we don't think we need.

And then there are the other gifts...the ones we wish we could give back...Anyone who has received a bad medical diagnosis knows exactly what I'm talking about here. So does anyone who has lost a loved one. Job loss and relationship problems, as well as lack of finances will also fall into this category, making us scratch our heads and say, "How could God have allowed this to happen to me?"

No matter what our initial responses may be to these little (or big!) gifts in life, let's remember that they are given because God has allowed them to be given. This is a hard concept to embrace, especially when some of those "gifts" involve hard times. Nonetheless, I challenge each of us this Christmas to look back over the "gifts" we have received this past year--both the good and the bad. Let's remember as we do that though it is not God's will that we suffer, He sometimes allows it to happen. Nonetheless, He is always there to hold us up and carry us through, and if we let Him, He will to teach us multiple invaluable lessons along the way. In fact, if we let God carry us through what we would consider to be "bad" gifts; if, instead of wishing them away, we surrender ourselves to God's will, whatever that may be, we will, in the end, thank Him for allowing us to go through these bad times.

I'm not saying that God wants us to suffer, friends. All I'm saying is that no matter what we are going through, He is big enough. He may miraculously remove some of these little "gifts". Or He may simply carry us through them. But no matter what the road is that He chooses, He will bless us abundantly along the way.

Seem incredible? I challenge you to try it. Surrender to God's will, allow Him to carry you through, allow Him to be God in your life, and in the end, you will also say, "thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.