We have a tradition at our house that on Christmas Eve, we open small gifts from each other, leaving the bigger gifts for the next morning. This is a hold-over from when the kids were little and “Santa Claus” left presents under the tree to be found on Christmas morning.
I’m amazed how the simplest thing from a brother to a sister or from my wife and I to one of the kids can be the object of such excitement on Christmas Eve – when this same object would prove disappointing were it under the tree on Christmas morning.
Why is a small token gift so exciting at one time but not another? Now, we could stop here and talk about the need to be content with and appreciative of even the smallest gift, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing to discuss, but that’s not what came to my mind this year as I thought about this.
It occurred to me that the reason the lesser gift is appreciated on Christmas Eve is because they know the greater gift is yet to come. There is no worry they’ll miss out on that special gift they asked for so they are free to enjoy something less than that in the moment.
For this same reason, I can be content with what God has chosen to provide in this life because I know it is only a foretaste of what will one day be mine as a child of God. Jesus said:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” – John 14:1-3
This is the secret to contentment – knowing Christ Himself has prepared a place for us and that no eye has seen, nor ear heard the incredible things that await us there (I Cor. 2:9). No matter how meager our portion seems at the moment, we have no worries that we’ll miss out on the greater gift of dwelling in the presence of the Lord forever.
Be encouraged by this truth as a New Year begins!