Article by: Michele Morin
“You can say ‘no,’” he said softly, in a whisper, so our son would not hear.
Immediately, my guard went up.
It was Christmas time, so my planner was bulging its squares with lists of things to buy and to wrap and to bake.
What was my husband going to propose that required this ominous-sounding, front-loaded disclaimer?
Well, it turns out that there was this puppy . . .
A St. Bernard puppy – the dream puppy of my youngest son’s heart.
Could I really say ‘no’?
Well, sure, I could have, but how much cuteness would I have missed at the sight of a small boy’s head resting on a big dog’s sprawled body?
How much joy and laughter would have been absent each Christmas without Tucker’s howling descant that floats atop our family’s singing of seasonal carols?
It seems to me that many of life’s loveliest gifts come to us with a built-in refusal clause. I’ve identified three gifts God extends to those who are growing up in Christ.
You can say no, but I hope you will trust for grace to unwrap each one in this “Season of Yes!”Here are three gifts of Christmas God extends to those who are growing up in Christ. I hope you will unwrap each one in this Season of Yes!
Gifts of Christmas #1: The Gift of Stillness in God’s Presence
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NKJV
You can say no:
You are free to reject the quiet peacefulness that comes with an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. You can fill your life with activity and noise that drown out the whisper of God’s Spirit.
For me, saying yes to God’s gift of stillness looks like hanging on for dear life to the spiritual disciplines that have formed my faith year-round.
If you are finding yourself careening into this Christmas season in need of a new beginning, start fresh with a simple, uncluttered devotional practice.
- Read the Christmas story in Matthew and then in Luke. Take note of one new observation each day in a journal.
- Make it a point to pray for the people you are shopping for and to lift before God the names on your Christmas card list as you address that stack of envelopes.
Gifts of Christmas #2: The Gift of God’s Guidance
“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:6 NKJV
You can say no:
You are free to follow the advice of the latest experts, to read all the books, and to make decisions based solely on gut feeling. You can bulldoze your own path through life.
Saying yes to God’s gift of guidance can happen every time you open the cover of your Bible and resolve to pay attention to the voice of the Spirit in His written Word. Here are two ways to start saying yes to God’s guidance this Christmas:
- As you read and are awestruck by the very specific words of direction God gave to Mary, Joseph, Elisabeth, and Zechariah within the Christmas narrative, begin praying for God to guide you in specific situations in your own life.
- Ask someone you trust to pray along with you, and as answers come, record them in your journal so you won’t forget God’s faithfulness.
Gifts of Christmas #3: The Gift of Joy
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3 NKJV
You can say no:
You can choose to ignore God’s gift of eternal abundance. Your bucket can hang out to dry, while you search for joy in ways that leave you parched and exhausted.
Saying yes to the gift of deep and abiding joy from God may require a renewed commitment to obedience in your following life.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), a gift that comes as we make room for it in our lives. Receiving this gift requires us to embrace the extra duties of Christmastime without forgetting to stop and enjoy this special season.
Last Christmas, I made an effort to take note of the sunrise each day of Advent, describing the way the light arrived and thanking God for sending the one True Light. That simple practice changed the month of December for me.Saying yes to the gift of deep and abiding joy from God may require a renewed commitment to obedience in your following life.
Will You Receive God’s Three Gifts This Christmas?
The “yes” that bubbled to the surface on the Christmas we invited a St. Bernard puppy named Tucker to join our crew was a gift to my family. That “yes” was a gift to me as well, for it taught me that I don’t have to play it safe when showing my love for my family.
Accepting the inconvenience of a giant new puppy stretched the boundaries of my heart.
And all the while, that “yes” became a reminder that Jesus Himself ushered in “The Season of Yes” with His embrace of God’s great rescue plan for the human race.
Early in His ministry, He made His mission clear: “I have come down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me (Jn 6:38 NKJV).”
This is deep teaching that we revisit every Advent season, a time to remember known truth and to rejoice in it together; to offer up our hearts as a family in an echo of God’s resounding YES that came when Jesus poured His glory – and His obedience – into a small body and entered time and space.Will You Receive God's Three Gifts This Christmas?
Jesus brought with Him the promise, the mercy, the forgiveness, and the welcome that lie at the heart of what we celebrate every Christmas.
His big, beautiful obedience opened the way for my heart to accept His grace and truth — and sometimes, to move outside my comfort zone in this glorious “Season of Yes.”
Have you thanked God for his incredible, life-giving “yes” that we celebrate each Christmas?
What habits of holiness would you like to work on in this “Season of Yes?”
You can resolve today to let God make room in your heart for the risk that comes with a heartfelt “yes” to Him.
Ask Him to help you establish good routines this Christmas that will carry you into the New Year and form the foundation of a vibrant and sustaining relationship with Him.
Michele Morin is a teacher, reader, writer, and gardener who does life with her family on a country hill in Maine. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, and three adorable grandchildren. Michele is active in educational ministries with her local church and delights in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. Connect with her by following her blog at Living Our Days or via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.