There are different kinds of gifts,
but the same Spirit distributes them.
1 Corinthians 12:4
Last week, my husband asked me to buy him a new pair of gray socks. “How quickly do you need them?” I asked.
“By Christmas,” he answered.
Is that what he wants for Christmas? I wondered. Socks? Something cheap, practical, and desired?
“Is there anything else you’d like for Christmas?” I asked.
“Nope,” Greg answered. “Just socks.”
I waited to see if Greg would ask me what I wanted for Christmas. If he did, how would I answer?
I could ask for a new car since mine is ten years old. Or a new cell phone with telephoto capabilities. Considering Greg’s request, it might be better if I asked for a new pair of black leather gloves or some dishtowels. What did I really want though?
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:31, “Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” He wasn’t talking about cars or cell phones. He was referring to spiritual gifts: prophecy, teaching, healing, helping, administrating, and speaking in tongues. Not one of which could be purchased, wrapped, and placed under the Christmas tree.
Jesus said, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
My friend Lira has the gift of visions. (Her story is in chapter 3 of Are You Listening?) I asked her if this was a gift she always possessed. “No!” she told me. “I asked for it.”
Lira not only asked for it, she prayed for it, fasted for it, and submitted herself in obedience to God to acquire it. In other words, she aligned her desire to the glory of God and he blessed her with this greater gift.
How many of us are willing to do the same? To align ourselves to the glory of God?
Many years ago, in a state of desperation, I fell to my knees and prayed, “Lord, I submit to you. Empty me of myself and fill me with your Spirit. I’m done living for me. I want to live for you.”
That little prayer changed everything. There were no flashing lights or heavenly chorus. Rather, as the days and weeks rolled out it began to feel as if I had stepped off the commuter train and was now riding the Polar Express. I began to see God’s handiwork everywhere and feel his presence in the strangest of places. Instead of immediately judging people and situations, I found myself asking God how he viewed who was in front of me and how he wanted me to respond. My spiritual eyes and ears sharpened as my worldly desires lessened.
The psalmist wrote,
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3-4)
I can’t change the course of history, bring about world peace, or end human trafficking, but I can take delight in the Lord and ask him to give me the desires of HIS heart. After all, God has already provided us with the greatest gift of all by sending Jesus to earth as a helpless babe to show us how to love God and each other.
So, while a new car or cell phone still sounds desirable, what I want most this Christmas is a closer relationship with God and quality time with loved ones. But if my husband asks what I want, I will tell him, “World peace … and a pair of black leather gloves.”
From our house to yours: MERRY CHRISTMAS!
THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND
is Fall Like Rain by Passion/Rachel Halbach.
Favorite lyric: “Knowing you is everything, so I let go of lesser things.”