It may come in small packages, plastic bags. It may come with ribbon, buttons, and tags. It may be wrapped with little bows. It may come in the form of plowing the snow. No matter the shape or size, what matters most is that The Giver has thought of you this time.
I flip Webster’s worn out pages looking for”give” which happens to be sandwiched between words like “girl” and “glacier”. The feather weight page rests in my hand as my eyes peruse its definition.
To give is to present something voluntarily without expecting compensation.
Currently, I sit in my spinning chair behind my wooden desk after a long school day. At this moment air peeks through the holes in my windows to send my curtains into a swirl. The dry erase board remains spattered with expo marks. The phrase “thank God its almost the end of the week” is a hallelujah chorus to my tattered brain. My head pounds with the all to familiar headache from the swift change in weather and noise of children still ringing in my ears.
I take a cleansing breath. Silence.
Today, I have repeated hundreds of times the catch phrases that all teachers use on a daily basis: “Be quiet”, “Sit down”, “No homework again?”, and “Yes, you may go to the bathroom.”
But in the silence, after the school bell has rung and the children have galavanted off to their respective cars or buses, I can’t help but smile and recall the excitement of a 1st grader learning how to type their name for the first time or helping the panicked teenager as they navigate the mysteries of a Microsoft Word document.
It isn’t every day that I think of the gifts that God has bountifully given. In the mounds of papers I have to grade and the lesson plans that I have constructed, I have lost the awe of my Giver.
Each day is a gift and that is why they call it the present.
I wake up. Gift. I move, slowly at times, but a gift. In the morning, fog kisses the ground and rises to meet the sun’s bright rays. A gift. Mouses click in rapid motion as elementary kids experience computer class for the first time. A gift.
In the midst of the mundane, the busyness, and the frustrations I miss out on some of the greatest gifts.
How do you recognize these so-called gifts?
In the words of Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, you name them.
Name your gifts.
- The smell of farm fresh eggs sizzling and spattering in your pan to start your day.
- The stiffness of clothing being taken off the clothesline after a windy day.
- The callouses outlining the palm of my Daddy’s hands.
- The Holy Spirit’s comfort coming through the truth found in Scripture.
- High school boys getting an Excel formula right!
Naming your gifts is a discipline of thanksgiving.
It is my lack of naming God’s gifts that destroys thanksgiving from ever changing the feeling of defeat in my heart and the ever-present sin that ravages my mind. My lack of thanksgiving depletes my awe for God. My lack of thanksgiving allows my mind to wander and leave the God I love.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:18
Do you see it? Do you see EVERY good gift comes down from the Father of lights? He does not change. He doesn’t stop giving. We stop seeing. Do you see that you must give thanks in a ALL circumstances? This is what He desires for me to do.
But this is the best part.
God knows I cannot do it alone, therefore; at the end of I Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says, “IN CHRIST JESUS for you.” The death and resurrection of His Son made it possible for us to give thanks in all circumstances. Big or small. Christ, our greatest gift, was presented voluntarily by God for you and I without any compensation on our behalf to give us the ability to praise and give thanks to our Creator.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
When I give thanks, I acknowledge my Giver. The one who is FOR ME. Not against me. He desires to LAVISH His love upon me. He desires that I taste and see that He is good. He desires for me to know that He is the Ultimate Giver.
In the midst of the long school days, the failures that come with being a first-year teacher, the joys of watching my little protégés understanding the computer, God is constantly giving me gifts.
He asks me to give thanks for those gifts. By naming and acknowledging Him as my Giver, I will draw closer to understanding the beauty of who He is and what He has done. That is my aim. This is my goal. To praise the name of my Savior all-the-day long.