I remember many Christmas mornings as a child waking up and getting toys under the tree from Santa. It was such a fun time with joy and celebration: opening presents and seeing all the goodies under the tree.
Then, we would make the trip across town in the afternoon to visit with relatives we hadn’t seen lately.
It always started with the quite embarassing and unappealling kiss from a lady so old she could be my great grandma (oh, wait, she was my great grandmother).
Only to be followed by one of the largest home cooked meals on the planet, enough to feed 50 people (which would feed us for hours).
Then, the opening of the gifts. For some reason, this was not what I looked forward to:
The first gift always seemed to be something for school – oh great, why do I NEED that? And as a Christmas gift?
Then, some miscellaneous items that probably only cost a few cents back then. They were rarely anything cool, but did contribute to some fun (at least for a few hours).
But before it was all over, each of us boys would unwrap that fateful gift – the TIGHTY-WHITEY UNDERWEAR. Not that we didn’t need it, but to open it up in front of the whole family! And we got it EVERY year! I mean come on, really grandma? (At least the girls would unwrap pastel colored panties, not stark white!)
What did YOU get for Christmas? Was it what you wanted?
Or should the question be: Was it what you NEEDED?
What we want for Christmas and what we need often do not go hand in hand.
In fact, many times in life, what we want and what we truly need are rarely the same.
Paul, formerly known as Saul, seemed to really have it together after his life changing experience on the road to Damascus. From the very beginning of his preaching, to his many mission trips, and even during his time in jail, he realized what was truly important in life, and what mattered. In his letter to the church at Phillipi, he noted:
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:12-13 NIV).
Wish I understood life a little more like Paul does. Sometimes I think I really need more than I have.
Paul goes on to share later in the passage concerning what we need:
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19 NIV)
Isn’t it great to know that God WILL supply our needs! Let’s try to remember that in 2014. Maybe we didn’t get what we wanted for Christmas, but do we really need that?