Yesterday, my extended family converged at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. After we had stuffed ourselves fuller than the turkey, we held a White Elephant party. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a gift exchange where you try to get rid of some worthless piece of #&*! in your house. Participants pick a number from a hat and, when their turn arrives, they grab a wrapped present and unveil it for all to see. If you don’t like your gift, you can give it to someone else and “steal” theirs.
There were some goofy surprises, including a mannequin head with a unibrow and straw hat with a neon-orange clown wig attached to it. My brother-in-law actually stole the head from my nephew, announcing, “This thing will make great target practice.” I ended up with a big bag of promotional items from a local bank, where my niece works.
Later that day, as I was popping Tums, the festivities got me to thinking about our tendency to exchange God’s gifts for the lesser gifts of the world. The shelves of heaven are stocked with such glittering treasures as love, wisdom, joy and peace. We receive these gifts and then, when life takes a turn for the worse, we swap them for bitterness, bad habits, anger, earthly distractions. We can’t seem to believe that holding on to God’s gifts will actually make us better people in the long run.
Look around the rooms of your soul. Are there some items that you need to take to a White Elephant party? Will you be glad that you got rid of them? Will you want them back? Or, this time, will you believe that the God-gift in your hands should occupy a permanent place on the mantelpiece of your heart?
“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.” (James 1:17) NET Bible®