Celebration is the theme of the winter winter for our family. We welcomed a newborn into our home this past fall, enjoy family and Thanksgiving bounty, birthdays for two of our kids and Christmas, all within the matter of a few short months. This weekend we watched our youngest son turn 2 and melt with delight as he opened plush teddy bears and plentiful gifts.
As parents, we feel caught between wanting to lavish our children with presents, so they can see a glimpse of how much we love them, while not wanting to spoil them and feed the “me-centric” spirit of our culture.
So while we watch our little ones gleefully open presents, we ponder whether it’s better to just hide some of the remaining presents for the next birthday or holiday, so as to space out the seemingly overwhelming abundance.
What would you do?
But today, as more toys were opened in celebration of the precious life of my son — filling up all the remaining square footage of our modest but beautiful home — I couldn’t help but wonder, “God, how do you see us? How do you give gifts?”
I felt the resounding sense that God’s generosity is not sufficient or adequate, but His love is zealous, abundant and outrageously generous — ‘gratuitous’ as my ultimate frisbee buddies might call it.
God’s love is more than enough. It’s fierce and overwhelming.
And yet, because I know His character, I know that he holds back as well. He didn’t hold back in Christ, but he holds back in all that he wants to give us… frankly, because we can’t handle it.
If God were to give us all of His love at once, we’d simply die. Really. I mean that. It’d be like a supersonic shockwave of unrelenting, exuberant love.
How do I know that?
Look at His word. I challenge you: read the Bible cover to cover this year and as you finish the last chapter, I dare you to tell me that you don’t see an unrelenting love of a Father who is passionately pursuing his faithless and undeserving children — because, while we don’t deserve His love, it is ours — helplessly ours. We can’t run from it or hide from it. He just loves us.
How can he not though? We are made in His image.
Just like my son is made in my image, I can’t look at him and not see me. I see my nature and likeness engrained in his essence, and I love what I see.
I’m not perfect as a dad — in fact, those that know me know that I’m nowhere near perfect. But even as an imperfect father, I want to give the world to my kids. I want all good things for them. Even if that means seasons of pain because their is greater life and pleasure on the other side of that temporal disappointment and challenge.
And if I, as an imperfect father, want such good for my kids, how much more does God have beauty and goodness and abundant life in store for us?
Today, pause and open yourself to God’s overzealous, abundant generosity. He is crazy about us, and if He holds back a gift, know that it’s only because He loves us enough to not let His love destroy us.
“Lord, we serve You, an unrelentingly loving Father who knows what’s best for us, even when we don’t understand it. We can’t comprehend your goodness towards us. Help us to receive your generosity and enjoy you fully, while knowing that there is always more. We love you Daddy-Father.”