My husband and I do not exchange Christmas presents; we decided this early on in our marriage. All we want, truly, is to be together with each other and our children. That is plenty.
Often we say we don’t want a gift. No, we don’t want anything for Christmas, and all the while we are secretly hoarding away something—something we really want someone to remember to get. We expect them to surprise us even thought we haven’t even hinted at our wish list.
But there’s no gift I am secretly hoping my husband will have hidden under my pillow.
Why no gifts? Because I have plenty.
Let me explain.
When I was about sixteen years old I had a wish list.
I coveted wealth and prestige. I wanted my life to be easy. I wanted to live the high life. I thought I had a plan in place to assure my success.
It was all about me.
I knew what I wanted, and I certainly knew what I did NOT want.
I wanted to graduate with a doctorate degree in psychology or a masters degree in journalism. I was never going to get married. I did not want children. I was not interested in religion of any kind for any reason.
I sought sophistication. I wanted classy clothes, a classy occupation, a classy car and classy acquaintances. These were symbols of success to me. Imagine the slow motion walk of the about-to-be-heroes of an action movie and that’s what I wanted to be.
Notice I said what I wanted to be.
I didn’t know who I wanted to be. I didn’t know my own heart.
Now, I am standing on the far side of forty and I understand what sixteen year old Tamera did not and could not. What is the difference?
The question really is who is the difference? Who changed me?
He came into my life much like Jesus was born into Bethlehem--I wasn't expecting him. He was birthed into the profane stable of what I was. God arrived and told me he had a better plan. God’s presence gave me a choice.
My desires or his. I could have what or I could have who.
And my wish list changed.
Once I coveted wealth and prestige, but God made me a rich woman. Through the riches of God’s grace I have found a wealth that cannot be taken, stolen or depleted. My wealth is in my relationships—my daughters and son-in-law, my grandsons, my husband, my brother, my friends.
Once I wanted my life to be easy, but God made me a strong woman by the building of my faith through various troubles and trials I didn’t expect.
Once I pursued the high life, but God made me a servant and taught me to love others more than my narcissistic self.
Once I craved sophistication, but God made me an artist and taught me how to see long-lasting, soul-deep beauty.
Once I craved a successful life.
We are told in Scripture that God will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. I wanted success, but he gave me immeasurably more. * He made me prosper.
The Greek word for prosper is a combination of two words: eu which means well done and hudos which means progress in a long journey.
Prosperity is a well done journey through life.
A successful life is not about material wealth or prestigious milestones. No, it is about a good journey. It’s about making progress.
Prosperity comes from a long journey in His presence.
That’s what I would have told the young Tamera. I’m not sure how much I would say to her or how well she would listen. I’m not even sure I would clue her in—no, I think I would just tell her it’s going to be a beautiful journey. And all you hope for will come to pass (but I wouldn’t tell her that it wasn’t going to look anything like she had planned.) I don’t think she would have understood. She was too naïve, too fickle and too myopic.
It’s not about you, Tamera.
It is about Him.
My Father, you have blessed me. You have prospered my far, far beyond the wish list of my young self. I thought I knew what I wanted, and I thought I knew how to get it. But you came to me, you came, and offered me so much more. You offered me riches I still cannot fathom. I pray that during this season we understand the prosperity of your Presence. May we come to know that when we are in your Presence we have it all. Amen
Daily Activity: Today if you made yoru wish list what would be on it? What would you list? What do you really want for Christmas? Be honest with yourself. Be transparent.
* Ephesians 3:20
Christ Church of Winchester