accepting the gift.

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5:00 AM

For Christmas my husband bought me a new mug. It was really sweet and had a verse picked out just for me by him. It was to replace the one and only mug I had that he had accidentally broke weeks before. I had had my eye on a few mugs. Ones with pretty handles in fun shades of color. Ones that were generous in size with fancy writing and would hold my warm cup of chai perfectly.  As I unwrapped the box Christmas morning, I was more than a little bummed to see a small, black, chalkboard style one inside with a verse about a cup on it. A cup verse on a cup?!

Usually, these sorts of things do not bother me. I generally love his taste in gifts, so I could not figure out why this upset me so much. Gifts are not my love language but I felt like I was ten years old again unwrapping the off brand ice cream maker because the Baskin Robbins ice cream maker had been sold out (although for the record, I did get it for my birthday the following year and it was all I hoped for - my love for ice cream started young).

I know my husband had great intentions and very thoughtfully picked it out. He apologized about the size when I confessed it was a little small and said he would return it. This was the part where I was super convicted of my ungrateful heart.

So often we are given gifts and they mean nothing. They are not what we wanted. We asked and hoped and prayed for something TOTALLY different. The old - we asked to go to France and ended up in Holland. So we return what we can or re-gift it or throw it in a drawer somewhere to eventually end up in donations.

God knows how to give gifts. He knows us better than anyone. He knows when we lay down and when we go to sleep and when we rise (Psalm 139:2). He knows what we need better than we do. And it is not that he gives bad gifts - the complete opposite of it is true -  the reality is that we are not always good at accepting them.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

It is not easy to accept the gifts we did not ask for or ever dream of. The ones that seem mediocre and hardly appear worth a thank you.  The ones that get jumbled in the day. The gift of another sunrise and beds filled with sleeping children and cupboards stocked with choice food and closets full of clothes and cars to drive and shoes to wear and an office to work at.

Praying that this year your cup would overflow. Overflow with grace and compassion and thankfulness. Praying that this year would be the year that you see past the gifts to the heart of the giver. To heart of the one who thought so deeply about you and what would be the most beautiful present for you at this time in your life.

Praying that you learn to embrace each good and perfect gift that you receive with joy and gladness.

And because I could not help it, here's a little print to start your overflowing new year. Click to download an 8 x 10 print.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
 Psalm 23:5