Friday, December 23, 2011

The Starbucks dog

This is the Starbucks dog. You've probably seen him.

The dog my son has squeezed and begged for every time I've needed an iced tea for the last month.

And I know my Christmas spirit is spilling over today since I finally caved and bought him the dog. It was on sale for $5, and I wasn't with my kids at the time. I was standing in line, spying that dog, thinking of my sweet boy and how thrilling it is for me to bless my kids with surprises.

I just couldn't contain my desire to see him overjoyed at that dog. So I got my tea, and stuffed the dog in my purse for an early Christmas treat.

When I got home, I set my son on the kitchen counter, hugged his neck, told him I loved him, and then gave him the dog. He lit up with delight, squealed a little, and squeezed the dog tightly, two long times. He named him Star (both for Starbucks, and for the name of my husband's childhood dog of the same name). It was a simple, beautiful moment of my day.

And what comes to mind now is this:

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him."

Matthew 7:9-11

I don't know about you, but it makes me so glad that God loves to give gifts too. I sometimes feel inappropriate guilt about how our Christmas includes lots of gift giving. I forget that God is the best gift-giver ever! I think I forget that He too picks us up, sets us in front of Him, eye to eye, hugs us, declares His love for us, and hands us exactly the things we've been hoping for. Not the surface things. The deepest things. Everything we've ever truly needed.

The Lord is a generous, joyful giver, and how much more than we as parents does he LOVE to see His children's faces light up at His gifts!?

The problem for me is that sometimes I don't see Him. I miss the gifts He's trying to give, because they are not as easy to embrace as a Starbucks dog. Sometimes His gift is His presence, His peace, a breath of life in a relationship...intangible treasures. But so much more valuable than any gift we could ever give.  

Tomorrow, stop yourself for a few moments. Ask Jesus what He has to give you this Christmas. Because I guarantee He is as excited to give it as you are to give your gifts to your loved ones.

I try to comprehend how much more he loves me than I love my kids, and of course, I can't. His motive and desire to bless me is beyond what I can grasp. Which is why I ought to think big. I ought to expect lavish gifts from Him - and I'm not talking about anything material (though that could be the case for some).  

And what am I bringing Him? Well, I need to think about it. And I need to listen to what He longs to bring me. (A gift can't really be given unless it is also received, right?)

It's gonna be so much better than the Starbucks dog.

Lord, my prayer right now is that tomorrow morning, you awaken me and clear my mind of the million things that need to happen. And remind me to stop for a moment and listen. To receive your good gifts. And offer you mine. Even if everything else goes wrong, if others are grouchy, and I let people down, Oh Lord, let this be a great time of celebration and love in my heart, simply because I am reminded that you gave me the greatest gift of all at Christmas. Amen.



  1. On this eve of such an important date (of course we know that Jesus wasn´t born in December, right?), i just wanted to let a little of love for everyone who attended this year in my little blogspot ... thank you!

  2. Lovely post, Leslie.

    I know the gift God has given me this Christmas- that he is the only One ENTITLED to me. Only he has authority to reign in my mind, to tell me my worth, is God of my identity. I want to take this gift, hold it tight, and have the freedom in him he came that first Christmas to give me.

    What merriment that would bring!

  3. Beautiful post for this christmas eve. Thank you :)

  4. amen and amen!

    and as I sit here on the other side of Christmas morning I know exactly what you mean. I found myself surprised as tears of joy fell yesterday morning over my kids. I loved watching them delight in what I had picked for them. how much more then does God do that?

  5. Thank you. Thank you so much. I sub to a boatload of blogs, and have yet to get thru them all in a week. But when I let Him choose which ones I read, then grace, like a warm shower, pours down over me, and I can feel clean again. . .

  6. I have been dealing with the trials of physical and mental illness for a long time now. I think it's a lot harder to see God's gifts in the midst of difficult trials. But I am learning. I am learning to look for them and be thankful for them when I find them. I am learning to believe that God does want to give good gifts to His children even in the midst of hardship. Those gifts can me even sweeter.

  7. Thank you, so much, for this post. Your words touched my heart. One of the gifts God has given you is the ability to express your heart.

    BTW - I found your site because of a link on another site that I found through a link on Pinterest. A new form of surfing. :)