I’ve read a lot about spiritual gifts, taken tests and asked God to tell me what was always right in front of my face. My gifts never changed when I became a Christian, I just tried to fit them in neat little piles to see if maybe God would change His mind and play the shell game. Without realizing it, I have like a stray dog walked away from my gifts, my spiritual home, the one that God gave me. On the back alleys and off the beaten path roads, we get lost in what we want. We chase dreams like carrots on the ends of fishing lines. They look good because someone else’ s gift is always better. But it is a subtle enemy, you know? It’s silent and reeling and thinking you’re chasing God. I realized this on Christmas day, in the wisdom Jesus gave to me.
Have you ever stopped to enjoy someone else’s gift, or are you always chasing your own? With my “shift” in perspective came the long-awaited shift I needed in all that I was, it’s not all about me…
We go hunting and chasing and dreaming over these gifts. There are billions of books written about them. But what if for a second you stopped and said, “God I could really use someone’s else’s gift right now.”
We can’t for the most part be our own encouragers or teachers or preachers; maybe we’re not even good at that. Maybe it’s that we want to be good at that, and pray to be good at that, but we’re just flat-out not.
This Christmas, I couldn’t get enough lights on the house or ornaments on the tree. Several knick- knacks of Rudolph and Santa just didn’t sit well with me. The kids Hanukkah playroom looked sad and pathetic, even with all the dreidels and decorations. I just couldn’t admit to myself that I wasn’t a gentile.
Oh I tried to be, but it felt so wrong. I’d rather buy gorgeous pies than make them, and it took everything in me not to call a professional to hang the lights. It goes without saying the old joke is true- How do Jewish girls make dinner? They call for reservations.
When my “perfect” Christmas failed miserably I knew I’d go to my godmother’s house where sugar plum fairies live (not sure what those are but if they exist they live in Karen’s house). Her house looks like a painting straight out of a Thomas Kinkade and everything she cooks is just amazing! Her and her daughter know how to host a party like nobody’s business and I felt so bad about that, inadequate really. Have you ever felt that way? That you push the limit to the thing you want to accomplish so badly but know God is telling you you’re pushing a against a wall that you’ll never breakthrough? Like that great Coco Chanel quote says,
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”
When I got to the Christmas party, I realized it was in fact perfect. The food, the people, everything. There weren’t a million lights on the house (though there could have been) and there were decorations (just a few), but completely, appropriately placed. There was a lot of food (but not too much) and everything tasted like Santa cooked it himself.
There were songs and games and people laughing, and they were all genuine. I sat back half way through the party and thought, “Man, I wish I could be like them, throw a party like this, know how to decorate.” I didn’t realize it in that moment but God was working on me. My thoughts of wanting to be just like them turned to thoughts of appreciation that God made them this way. I felt an instant and inexplicable joy over the food, the party, the perfection that it was. I was thankful for my godmother and her daughter and began to thank God in my head for allowing me to enjoy the fruits of their labor. For the first time I saw their gift as my gift, a gift from God to me. It was only though their gift that I was able to have the Christmas I dreamed of, the Christmas in my mind. It was even apparent in her bathroom, where “The invitation” hung:
Take a different perspective. Stop focusing so much on yourself. Go find what you need in God’s kingdom, the perfect Christmas party.