16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 18 Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. I Chronicles 29:16-18 NIV
We held our family Christmas with our children and grands almost a week early, the 19th. What a joy it was to have great food, go Christmas caroling, have fun conversations, see thoughtful and meaningful gifts exchanged, and share love one for another and watch the little ones open gifts.
On the 20th, I woke up with the Christmas blues. “Wait a minute”, I said, “It’s not even Christmas yet!” All the kids had gone back home. Pam was at work and I was looking at an empty house which was filled with laughter the night before. Bah, humbug was not far from flowing of my lips.
The Christmas blues is a type of buyer’s remorse which has many faces. Maybe the toys didn’t make a lasting impact – they played with the wrapping paper instead. Maybe the joy to money spent ratio doesn’t feel quite equal. Maybe some of the relational harmony you had hoped for was not achieved. Maybe gift giving doesn’t supply enough joy to last all year. Maybe we expect too much from the Christmas traditions. Maybe loneliness continues after the people are gone.
Please do not misinterpret my mentioning “the blues” for thinking about the Christmas traditions in a negative light. I love the decorations, the get togethers, the food and desserts, the thoughtful gift exchanges, the updated yearly family photos. These are wonderful gifts. But they only provide a limited, short lived joy.
King David was not allowed to build the temple for God for whom he loved with all of his heart. He was given the privilege to amass all of the building supplies for his son Solomon. Our verse today includes a prayer David gave to God regarding the giving of gifts – specifically for the building of the temple.
Although this gift giving was from God’s people for the building of the temple, there are some great insights which can help with our Christmas gift giving season.
- all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. Verse 16
- God owns it all. David realized all that people gave, ultimately was God’s from the beginning. He created the world and all that is in it.
- Knowing God owns it all, we are stewards of His stuff when we give.
- No matter how much your abundance is, thankfulness for what you have is the key to the joy of giving.
- I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent verse 17a.
- God looks at your heart and knows the reason you give gifts.
- It’s okay to be honest with God if you were expecting something from your gift giving which did not transpire the way you had hoped. He enjoys honest dialogue with you.
- Also, invite God into the conversations about gift choices before you buy them.
- Gift giving is at the heart of God….For God so loved the world, that He gave
- And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. Verse 17b.
- David experienced joy while watching others give quality gifts and sacrificial gifts.
- I challenged a young boy to give his mom a gift. I told him to study his mom and find out what she really likes. He responded, “I have heard her say she really likes this item.” Together we went and purchased the item for her. He was so giddy, It was his first time to surprise his mom with a gift which she did not help make happen. He couldn’t even wait until Christmas for her to open it.
- Remembering good and meaningful gift giving has a lingering joyful effect.
- Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever verse 18a
- Desires and thoughts of the heart are important
- Desires and thoughts of the heart for gift giving are equally important
- In the book Christmas Carol , by Charles Dickens, the main character Scrooge represents the hardness of a person who has lost the heart and joy of gift giving.
- and keep their hearts loyal to you. verse 18b
- God is the sustainer of joy in your life.
- Realigning our expectations to our eternal, immovable Rock of Jesus, keeps our heart secured to love everlasting.
I took my Chrismtas blues on December 20th into a wonderful time of worship and prayerful thanksgiving for each of my family members. Starting with my wife, Pam, I prayed for her health, relationships, and joy. By the time I had prayed for the 15 of us, my blues had been replaced with grateful expectations.
King Solomon would later pen, “guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life”. Take the time to engage God in prayer today. Give Him thanks for the relationships He has given to you. Let His gift of joy from the Holy Spirit bear fruit in your heart and mind all year long.
If you are struggling with Christmas blues, let me know how I can be praying for you.
God is good and He is moving. This is going to be a great year.
Blessings Love y’all