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Christmas in July!

Read: James 1:17; Matthew 7:7-11; Psalm 31:19

Have you seen them? One of the shopping channels has been having Christmas in July programs. I even saw some in June as I flipped by the channel. Enticements to buy gifts early as well as all kinds of decorations now, with the aim that the Christmas season will be less busy. Those promotions caused me to think about my own past attempts at getting a jump on Christmas gift buying. May I explain?

Several years ago, I decided it would be wise to purchase gifts ahead of time and store them for Christmas. That should have been a good idea, except for a few unforeseen things. First, after purchasing a special gift for one of my family members, I became so excited about how she would like it that I gave it away early. That meant not only were we not ahead of the game as far as gift giving, we spent double money. I was ruled by my eagerness rather than the best timing to share the gift. However, not to be deterred, I made a second attempt to beat the rush and buy early. This time, I bought some small gifts, vowing to tuck them safely away. That's exactly what I did; however, there was a problem. I put them back where I wouldn't look, and that was where they stayed until well after Christmas. Having forgotten their purchase, I bought other gifts for the recipients of the abandoned presents. When I finally looked at them months later, I didn't remember exactly who was to have received them. I know. I failed the "smart shopper" test not only once but twice.

The scriptures say that we aren't the only ones who love to give gifts. God does too!

James 1:17 says that He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. No guesswork with Him. He knows how to match the gift with its recipient. That's another thing I have messed up with my own giving. At times, I have guessed wrong and given a gift that did not match the needs or desire of its recipient.

Matthew 7:7-11 says that the Lord gives gifts even better than an earthly father does. So often, even good fathers are limited in what they can give their children by circumstances not of their own choosing. So, how encouraging it is to see in those verses in Matthew that God wants His children to ask Him for His good gifts. Imagine it. He is not limited in His resources or in His love for us.

Psalm 31:19 is one of my favorite verses concerning God's desire to give to His children. It is in this verse that we read that He has "stored-up" His goodness to lavish on us, and it will be visible to a watching world. This is the verse that reminds me of Christmas giving because God neither gives us His stored-up gifts early or forgets to share them with us.

Have you ever tried to pray God into giving you a gift before it is time? Even though He knows the joy we will have when we receive the good things He plans to lavish on us, God doesn't give out of impulse as I did. Think of it. Galatians 4:4 says that even Jesus came at exactly the right time, the perfect time that God had ordained. Those words are a picture of a baby who is delivered full term or a piece of fruit that is ripened on the tree. The timing, for Jesus' entering the world as God/man, John 1:14 was just right. Neither early or late. What a reminder for us. The gifts He has stored up for us will be given at exactly the right time. Oh, how I know that I forget that.

Have you ever wondered, as everyone most likely has, if God has forgotten to keep a promise? Sometimes it might feel as if He stored up one of our gifts but left it languishing on some far away shelf, as I did. Did David ever wonder if God had forgotten that Samuel had anointed him as king, 1 Samuel 16, during those long years during which he was fleeing from Saul?

We have the same struggle that David and so many others in the scriptures had. We know that God won't withhold anything that would be good from us, Psalm 84:11 and that He will keep every promise, Titus 1:2. We simply don't know exactly what good gifts He wants to lavish on us or when it will be time. Even so, we can live in hopeful anticipation because of the things we know about God. What gifts does God have stored up for this day? The answer to the question will be learned as this day unfolds. Two things we know for certain. God's timing is just right, and He never forgets to give even one of His gifts.

From Maranatha Music:

In His Time, In His time, in His time,

He makes all things beautiful, in His time,

Lord, please show me everyday,

As You're teaching me Your way,

That You do just what You say, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time,

You make all things beautiful, in Your time.

Lord, my life to Your I bring,

May each song I have to sing,

Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.

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