I grew up in a very conservative, typical Asian home where strict discipline was enforced and my needs were provided with a few wants or gifts. Our Christmas gifts consisted of tangerine oranges, nude pantyhose, a belt holder and a science book. Though I am extremely grateful for my background which has contributed to my desire to live a simple lifestyle and has helped me say ‘no’ to excess, I am growing in my understanding of gifts as a demonstration of grace.
Coupled with my conservative background is the conservative theology of many churches. Though I am not a proponent of the ‘health and wealth’ Gospel where all God is concerned about is blessing us with physical things, I’m also not a proponent of the ‘gloom and doom’ Gospel where all God is concerned about is our suffering.
Is it possible for us to hold a healthy tension between the two? I genuinely used to struggle with the belief all God was concerned about was my suffering and that was the only means He could use to grow me. My husband has helped me grow in my understanding of God’s character to give good gifts as demonstrated in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, to give me eternal life.
Becoming a mom has been a blessing. It is as a mom where I am beginning to understand God’s character and delight in giving good gifts. I love hearing the squeals, laughter and joy when I surprise them with gifts they did not earn. I give them gifts just because they are mine and I delight in them. What a demonstration of grace – a gift not deserved or earned.
As a person who loves to cook, I love making treats for my kids. I make homemade ice cream, cookies and anything that makes their face all sticky and gooey. I don’t give this to them every day. But I do listen to the Holy Spirit’s nudge to surprise them with grace as an opportunity to make the Gospel real to them.
Here I made some easy ice cream sandwiches. Get a package of refrigerated cookie dough and bake small cookies. Let the cookies cool completely. Get a quart of fresh vanilla ice cream – can’t go wrong with Blue Bell’s. Use a cookie scooper to scoop a mound of ice cream between two cookies and smoosh!!! Freeze it and serve.
As those precious little fingers grab those treats, tell them you love them, you delight in them and you are giving treats to them not because they worked for it but because you love them and you delight in them. Use this as an opportunity to teach them the word ‘grace’. How we all need a little grace in our lives! And don’t forget to treat yourself with one!