I saw this video recently where children are talking about the true meaning of Christmas being the birth of Jesus. I love hearing these wise words spoken by children; children who understand the true meaning of Christmas! Even at such a young age, these children understand that Christmas is about so much more than just gifts. (You can watch the video here ). At the same time, it can be so fun to buy gifts for the ones we love! Parents and grandparents, you know exactly what I’m talking about! To give your children a gift their heart desires is so rewarding and fun!
I imagine God also understands this feeling, too. He has all these gifts to bless His children with. And unlike children, we’re sometimes too distracted and busy to receive the gifts our Heavenly father has for us. I can just picture all these gifts God wants to bless us with, circling around us like planes at a busy airport, awaiting permission to land. So often, you and I fail to give permission to receive the gifts that God wants to give to us because we are busy working, building, buying and doing. We don’t “have time” to receive the gifts. There are countless other reasons we don’t receive the gifts that God intends for us. Sometimes we don’t receive the gifts because we’re stuck in the past and can’t see the potential in the present moment. Sometimes we fail to receive the gifts that God wants to give because our hearts are breaking over some sort of loss we have experienced. I believe the gifts are there circling around and it’s when you and I begin to receive those gifts from God that we connect with our place and purpose in life. Three things I want to share about connecting with the gifts God has for you.
First, when we read the creation story, we are reminded that we have been made in the image of God. What does that mean to you? I believe it means you have been given the gift of imagination, a gift of dreaming. It is God who is the first dreamer the one who imagines, the one who creates. If you are created in the image of God, then you, too have the gift of dreaming, of imagination.
Some people use the gift of imagination well, while others seem to forget they have access to their imagination. One of my favorite examples of a person who was so good at tapping into his imagination is Walt Disney. I love Walt Disney, I love reading any book I can about him, hearing any story about him. Any man who dreamed up Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Disney World and Epcot Center has an incredible imagination! If you go to work for Disney, you’re called a Disney imagineer.
Have you ever thought about the fact that it is only human beings who can say something like, Wouldn’t it be great, if…(fill in the blank with your dream). Only human beings can do that. You’ve been given the gift of imagination because you have been created in God’s image. When was the last time you did something for the first time or have you just gotten so comfortable with your life it’s always the same things, same way. Are you open to creativity, to imagination, to dreaming? I believe if you will take that time and begin to open your heart and let God use your gift of imagination then you’ll receive a gift that’s going to help you find your place and your purpose.
Second, to be made in the image of God also means you have been given the capacity to love. What a gift! God created because God loved. It is love that creates all of this. You are created in love and if you are made in the image of God then you have the ability, the capacity to love, to feel deeply. If you want to be alive and you want to know your place and your purpose in God’s world, then you have to embrace the capacity to love.
And third, as the years go by we experience hurt and struggles. We become afraid of being rejected and can easily become afraid to love. If you don’t love, you don’t find your place and your purpose. It is God’s gift to us. When I talk about love I am not talking about a love that protects you from experiencing pain. Love allows you to experience both joy and pain. It is love that will put a smile on your face and tears in your eyes. It is love that will make you happy and angry! The opposite of love is not anger, the opposite of love is apathy. The opposite of love is when you no longer care. When you no longer feel deeply and have passion. Love isn’t always going to bring you joy and a smile and laughter. It can also bring pain and tears and even anger.
God has created us in his image. And to be created in God’s image means you’ve been given the gift of imagination, the ability to dream and the capacity to love. When you receive those gifts, then you’ll begin to discover, your place and your purpose in your world today.