I think there’s a child in each of us who loves lavish ribbons and colorful printed paper. Decorative bags with overflowing tissue paper hold secrets meant just for us and pulling the paper out one sheet at a time unlocks the safe of hidden treasures. We are momentarily in the moment – free of distraction and happily satisfied – even if temporary. A heartfelt gift can bring smiles and tender emotions that help us know that we are thought of, admired, loved. They are extensions of thoughts and feelings that permeate even the thickest of skin and can touch the soul.
Gifts come in a variety of packages and sometimes the best ones don’t fit in a bag or a box: an impromptu gift of a lunch or even just a coffee can help brighten someone’s day; a much needed phone call can bridge distance faster than an airplane; a handwritten letter or a shoulder to cry on warms the heart better than a fireplace on a chilly evening.
These gifts are held close and we realize that we matter to someone. We are seen, felt, heard. We accept these love-messages with gratitude.
But how many times do we fail to see or recognize God’s gifts to us?
Matthew 7:9-11 (NASB)
“Or what person is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? So if you, despite being 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!”
So many of us go through each day filled with worries of all types. We carry heavy burdens and fears for how things will turn out. We often feel isolated, misunderstood, and empty. We long for a gift. We long for someone to share the weight of our issues so we can just breathe for a minute.
God answers, but many times His gifts aren’t wrapped in bright-colored paper or in packages we would expect. Often times, His gifts are subtle, unique, nuanced. They aren’t meant to be flashy or satisfy a status quo – rather they are meant to penetrate through the layers of pain and worry to serve as a salve, a respite, a comfort.
Jesus told us that He would leave us with such a gift.
John 14:27 (NASB)
“Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”
He extends the offering of a peaceful undercurrent – a peace that can fill our lives even as we move through hardship. This peace is not wrapped in a bow and it can’t be held in a box, but it can fill us from within. His peace gives us strength for another day, another meeting, another encounter. It will fuel us to enjoy life despite the difficulties that may come with it. His gift can help us to stand a bit taller and laugh a bit easier.
And this loving gift of peace is one that truly keeps on giving. It brings balance and hope to a weary soul. It can transform emptiness into abundance and is a pathway to compassion. Jesus extends this gift of peace openly to everyone because of His great love for us all. He knows that this gift is energizing, freeing, powerful, and is the perfect gift – all we need to do is accept it.