Every Christmas my wife and I are faced with a life or death situation. Something so instrumental in the development of our children that if we were to get it wrong, it may effect the direction of the rest of their lives.
Yes, I am talking about what to get them for Christmas.
Okay, maybe it’s not THAT important, but sometimes my wife and I find ourselves feeling this enormous pressure to pick the PERFECT gift. And, when you’re operating on a budget, that’s not always easy.
But, every year, the same thing happens. Something inexplicably bizarre. Something that is always an eye-opener for me.
Here’s a picture of what I am talking about:
Yep. Whether it was a shiny new bike or a new kitchen play set or even one of those monstrous Power Wheel things, my kids gravitate toward the simple cardboard box it came in.
Now, eventually, my kids always end up playing with what came inside of the box and have a lot of fun with it, but—it’s strange how, on Christmas morning, surrounded by a multitude of shiny new toys, they go for the plain old box.
Why am I telling you this? Good question. Here’s my answer.
This Christmas, we all feel the pressure of impacting the children that walk through our family ministry environments with the importance of the birth of our Savior. The PERFECT gift. We spend more money this time of year than any other time in regard to our ministry. We decorate the hallways like crazy, and we go the extra mile to leave a lasting impression on the kids and parents walking through our doors. And I think that’s GREAT!
But do this one thing for me—
Let God use what you have prepared any way He sees fit. It’s easy for us to use our own standards to measure whether or not everything we did was “successful” in impacting the kids and parents that have walked into our environments. It’s easy to get disappointed when people don’t see all that we had prepared for them. And it’s just as easy to use that as a measuring stick for how everyone was impacted when it came to discovering the truth of a God who loves them. But, like my past Christmas gift-giving experiences with my kids, sometimes people aren’t ready for The Gift. Sometimes, all they can handle is the idea of The Gift—playing around with the box before moving to the really, really good stuff.
That’s okay. It just means God is using what you have done—just maybe not in a way you expected. But, He is working on every individual at their own pace. He’s meeting everyone where they are. This Christmas, as we continue to shine a light on who Christ is, be okay if someone gets caught up in the “cardboard box.” It might not be The Gift you want them to see, but the hope is, eventually, they will come around and find the true joy in who Christ is. And what you do is playing a part in that.
Merry Christmas. And thanks for everything you do to let the world know how awesome our God is.