The days leading up to Christmas are a mixture of excitement and anticipation. Each gift I wrap holds my hope that the recipient will like what I have chosen for them. Every dish prepared comes with it’s own story of family and tradition. Each movie watched brings back memories of past Christmases.
When I was a child Christmas was all about the gifts. I would make out an elaborate list of the latest toys and gadgets. Since I’m an only child, I fully expected to get everything on my list. If something wasn’t there on Christmas morning I would be openly disappointed for all to see. Yes, I admit I was a little spoiled. Maybe even more than a little. : )
Often the gift not given was something my dad did not feel was appropriate for me. It would be a toy he believed was unsafe for someone my age or a present he felt would be better for next year. His explanations always fell flat on my disappointed heart. I could not understand how someone who said they loved me could deny me something I wanted. Through the eyes of that little girl, real love would not deny a request.
I’m much older than that little girl making her Christmas list now, but at times I find myself asking my heavenly Father to explain His actions. Unanswered prayers and disappointments leave my heart heavy at times and cause me to question Him. I am always amazed at how God can use the most unlikely sources to teach us.
This past month my 10 year old son tried out for a position on a team at his school. He wanted desperately to be on the team. Many of his friends had already made the cut, but he was in a three way tie for the last 2 positions. He knew someone would not make it. My son is a typical tween who’s life is mostly about his wants and needs. During the morning of the final decision, his prayer during our AM prayer time arrested my heart.
“God you know how badly I want this. I’ve prayed. I’ve begged. I’ve asked. Please let me make it. But if I don’t, let it be for a good reason. Either way, thank you.”
His prayer was one from a heart open to receive the gift of not getting what he wanted. He trusted God to use a momentary disappointment for greater good. He was willing to be thankful even in the midst of an unanswered prayer.
My son made the team. But even if the team had passed on him this year, I believe he got something much greater from the experience. He learned through the process how to hold up his hope to the Father and receive whatever gift the Father deemed appropriate for that moment.
Every good and perfect gift is from above. ~ James 1:17
I pray your Christmas overflows with the Father’s best. And if you don’t get something you’ve asked or prayed for, trust Him to give you good gifts in their season. Some gifts are for an appointed time. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to learn this lesson. Rejoice in the waiting.
Wishing Your Family a Very Merry Christmas!!
Saundra Dalton-Smith is an internal medicine physician, author, speaker, and hope activist. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions and enjoying the life to the fullest. Her books include Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves (2011) and Come Empty (2015)