10 Gifts We Can Receive From God This Christmas Season

I wanted to give you an opportunity to read or reread this post I wrote last year for Advent. 

When we were in elementary school, my brother and I used to crawl around the base of our Christmas tree to examine the packages each evening before Mom called us for dinner.  My brother would count the number of gifts for each of us kids to make sure they were equal, all the while begging Mom to open “just one” before Christmas.

One year, I had this gloriously mysterious triangle one. I showed it to my friends when they came over, until one of them guessed what it was, (which definitely took away from the excitement of opening the watch on Christmas day).

Each year, I’d always hide my gift to my sister underneath other packages, because she was somehow always able to guess what her little sister tried to be so sneaky in buying her.

After all the presents were unwrapped, I often felt twinges of disappointment—that it was all over until next year, and none of the gifts had been able to make me perfectly happy.

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Now, I worry about how to find something that will be meaningful for the person I am giving to, hoping it won’t sit up on a shelf or go in a Goodwill box by the next year. And as other opportunities for giving flood my mailbox–baby chicks that kids can help their family raise and sell for food, life-saving medical procedures for people in other countries, and Bibles for persecuted Christians–the choices can feel overwhelming.

This Advent, I want my giving to reflect the joy that God feels in giving gifts to His children, while still remembering that their only true satisfaction can be found in Jesus. I want to give toward some needs, knowing that God mourns the brokenness in the world and is bringing restoration.

But most of all, I want to receive. Not only the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, but also the baby cries, stuffy noses, and lost sleep He uses to make me more like Himself.

Because God’s ways are true, and He is perfectly good, we can trust Him to give us what is best. And because He is the best, He gives us Himself. Immanuel—God with us. God in us. God through us.

As you read the following verses, I invite you to imagine each as a physical gift that you are unwrapping, then looking into your Father’s face and thanking Him for it.

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  1. His Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:8-13 ESV)

  1. His Righteousness

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. . . For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21)

  1. His Conviction

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. . . I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:1, 5)

  1. His Discipline and Use of Suffering

For [our fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:10-12)

  1. His Instruction

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)

  1. His Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

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  1. His Love

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

  1. His Sovereign Control of our Circumstances

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

  1. His Help

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)

  1. His Peace in His Presence

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

May each of these gifts draw us to a greater awe for who He is as we celebrate one Christmas closer to our heavenly home.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29)

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Episode 11: Exodus 32-33 God Renews His Promise After Israel Chooses an Idol

In this episode, I share from Exodus 32-33, when Moses is away talking with God, and the Israelites choose to make an idol to worship and how receiving Jesus’ love and forgiveness frees us to follow God in the way He created us to live.

Question for your kids: If someone asked you why Jesus is better than anything else, what would you tell them?

Receiving the Blessing of Christ in You

We have not been abandoned. Many people around us might feel completely abandoned, but Jesus suffered the greatest abandonment when he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus experienced that feeling of being forsaken so that they don’t have to. What better gift do we have to receive and offer others than an identity of sonship with the Father?

A few weeks ago, my husband Christopher was asked to give the Thanksgiving message at our church. Over supper one evening, he asked if we could work on the sermon together and I was delighted to get to sit on the couch and discuss it with him.

I’ve included the audio in two formats. The first one is my father-in-law’s radio program where Christopher got to share it, and the second is just the straight audio from his talk.

Happy listening!

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Episode 10: Exodus 21-31 God Makes a Way to Live With the People

In this episode, I share from Exodus 21-31, when God teaches Moses how He has chosen to live with His people and how Jesus has made a way for God to live with us and in us. Hallelujah!

Question for your kids: Why do you think Jesus wants to be with us?

Episode 9: New City Catechism

In this episode of the Jesus is Better Podcast, I have my two special guests, Dorie and Ja’nya, go through The Gospel Coalition’s New City Catechism with me. This is a great episode your children can practice with as they learn 52 important beliefs about God.

The New City Catechism is copyrighted by Redeemer Presbyterian Church and used by permission of The Gospel Coalition.

You can access the free app, which includes songs for some of the questions at http://newcitycatechism.com/ or find print copies on Amazon.

My prayer is that this resource would be a springboard for further discussion as you invite your children to know Jesus more.

Episode 8: Exodus 18-20 God Gives Moses His Good Commands

In this episode, I share from Exodus 18-20, when God teaches the people the way life works best through His commandments, and how Jesus has kept the commandments perfectly on our behalf, inviting us to obey and run with Him in His good ways.

Question for your kids: What has Jesus been teaching you today?

Episode 7: Exodus 16-17 God Sends Bread from Heaven and Water from a Rock

In this episode, I storytell Exodus 16-17, when God provides food and water for the Israelites as He leads them through the wilderness and how Jesus invites us to trust in His provision as we rest in His good purposes for our lives.

A question for your kids: How has Jesus been taking care of you today?

Episode 6: Exodus 14-15 God Parts the Red Sea

In this episode, I storytell Exodus 14-15, when God parts the Red Sea. Though we deserve to be swept away like the Egyptians, God sent Jesus to rescue us and lead us all the way until we join Him on the New Earth.

Why not ask the kids in your life what they’ve learned about Jesus that makes them thankful to Him? You can give them your answer, too!

Episode 5: Exodus 11-13 God Passes Over the Israelites and Rescues Them

In this episode, I storytell Exodus 11-12, when God passed over the Israelites who put the blood of a perfect lamb on their doors. I also share how Jesus was the true perfect sacrifice so that we could be forgiven and experience new life with him.

After you listen, you can ask your kids, “What did you hear that might make you scared you aren’t good enough?” Then you can reinforce the best news ever–when they trust Jesus, they are forgiven! All praise to Him!

Episode 4: Exodus 7-10 God Shows His Power to the Israelites and Egyptians

In this episode of the Jesus is Better Podcast, I share from Exodus 7-10, how God showed his power to the Israelites and Egyptians through the 10 plagues, and how Jesus still holds all the power over our lives, fulfilling every promise he has ever made.

You might want to ask your kids if there was anything that made them scared or scared they aren’t good enough. It could provide a great opportunity to share about forgiveness and security in Jesus!