The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Sweater
*~*~*Merry Christmas Eve!*~*~*
Today's post is part of a special series of Christmas articles. Each writer was given a photo and tasked with writing a spiritually minded article inspired by that image.
When I was younger, I had mixed feelings about Santa Claus. Sometimes I would really love him, like when he got me that LEGO set from "The Return of the Jedi" or that new pair of rollerblades. Other times, however, he would let me down with citrus, dental floss, and the dreaded sweater.
When the presents were all opened and I was left sitting amidst a pile of socks, Chex Mix, and a "Barry Manilow Greatest Hits" CD, all I could think about was that Santa was getting old and had lost touch with my generation.
And while my feelings towards Santa aren’t all that important, I can’t let this same logic direct my relationship with God.
See, sometimes God gives me more joy and abundance than I know what to do with, and it’s easy to love and praise Him. Other times, I’m faced with a difficult circumstance, person, or limitation, and it’s just plain hard to understand why God would put that in my life.
But the thing is, even Santa never gave me a present without a purpose. Sometimes I just can’t see the beauty in that itchy, old, dreaded sweater when I receive it, and so it finds a home in the outer-reaches of my closet, never to be seen again. Then one cold, wintery day, realizing how valuable that beautiful sweater really is, I search and search, shivering with regret that the sweater is nowhere to be found, realizing what a great gift it really was.
If Santa, being just a man, knows how to give good gifts, how much more will our Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him? (See Matthew 7:11 for the accurate scripture).
What I’m coming to realize is that sometimes God’s will for my life is frankly not what I would wish for. Often times it’s just the opposite. However, if I truly believe that God only gives good gifts as He says He does, then when I face a less-than-ideal situation, I can know that it is for a good purpose.
Unfortunately, sometimes God’s gifts look to me like the dreaded sweater, and I try to shove them into my closet and ignore them. It’s not until later that I understand the missed blessings, unlearned lessons, and unrecognized opportunities that God was offering.
It’s up to me to either see the struggles of life as a waste of time or as a perfect gift for which to be thankful. Instead of cringing when God’s will is not my own, I want to seek God’s good purpose in everything He gives me and praise His name for the good, the bad, and the ugly sweater.
Inspired by the sixth chapter of John.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.