What kids get right about Christmas

Heidi Charalambous

As a kid making my Christmas list, the sky was the limit. I asked for bikes, gaming systems, clothes, toys, and furniture without the first thought about how much those things cost.

But as I got older, my list got shorter and more practical. I stopped asking for everything and started asking: Do I need this? Is it something my family could afford?

Adult pragmatism started to replace childlike awe, not just about Christmas but about life. And while that was helpful for anyone shopping for me at Christmas, the healthy shift in my wish list reflected an unhealthy shift in my heart.

We talk a lot about giving at Christmas, but for many of us learning to receive God’s blessings is as big of a lesson as learning to give, because it requires us to stop seeing God as human and start seeing God as He really is—all powerful, almighty, and all good.

3 Realities About God and the Way He Blesses Us

1. God doesn’t run out of anything.

When I make decisions about where to spend my time, money, or energy, the first question is usually, “Can I do this?” There’s a finite amount of money in the checking account, 24 hours in a day, and only so much I can do before collapsing from exhaustion.

My resources are limited. But God’s are not. We’re not stealing from someone else’s account or borrowing against future blessings every time we ask for God’s help. God has never looked down at the world and wondered how He was going to make ends meet.

God created the world and everything in it (Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 10:14). Every animal in the forest, the cattle on a thousand hills—all His (Psalm 50:10).

So when God tells us He will meet our needs “according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus,” we can trust in His ability to provide (Philippians 4:19).

2. God isn’t burdened by blessing us.

Ever agreed to deliver a meal out of guilt rather than gratitude? At some point between the meeting that ran late and the last minute trip to the grocery store, we wonder: Why did I ever commit to doing this?

The more I let guilt guide my actions, the more I hesitated in asking God for big things. If I felt burdened by the needs in my life, how much more burdened must God feel about by the needs of the world? Somewhere in my heart, I believed that God would be burdened by helping me.

The truth is God has never been motivated by guilt or obligation.

In Exodus 34, the Lord passes in front of Moses proclaiming: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

Showing compassion, giving generously, loving endlessly—these aren’t just things God does; that’s who He is. And He wants nothing more than to be those things for us.

At the end of Psalm 145, after recounting the same characteristics God shouts in Exodus, the psalmist writes, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”

Our prayers are not an interruption in God’s day; they are the highlight of His day.

God is delighted, not disappointed, by our dependence on Him. 

3. God isn’t looking down on us for needing His blessings.

The journey from childhood to adulthood is measured in steps of independence. As babies, we learn to feed ourselves and bathe ourselves. As kids, we begin to take on responsibility. By our teens, we’re driving ourselves and starting to support ourselves.

Independence is a healthy part of growing up. But when we carry the drive for independence into our relationship with God, we miss out what it means to be in relationship with Him. God is delighted, not disappointed, by our dependence on Him.

Over and over again, the Bible instructs us to ask God for help:

  • “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
  • “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
  • “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).

John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, said our joy is complete when we learn to receive. If all we’ve ever done is give of ourselves for God without learning to receive from God, there is more joy to be had!

When was the last time we asked God to do something big? When was the last time we brought God our deepest desires—the dreams we tell ourselves are too unrealistic, too frivolous to bring before the Lord?

In this season of giving, the best gift some of us can give ourselves is permission to dream again, to ask again, and to rediscover the childlike awe we had when we first came to faith.

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