The timing was right. Last year he was too young but this year it was just right. He had tried out this particular bike at the store but never asked to take it home. He said he knew Santa would get it if it was for him. That was that and we left the store.

Later that day the bike was purchased. It was so easy to dig deep and squeeze that bike into the Christmas budget. On Christmas Eve the shiny red bike stood next to the Christmas tree adorned with a big bow and a note from Santa about having Daddy get him just the right helmet. The pure joy in giving the gift of that first big kid bike to a child... Not many things in life touch this feeling of excitement in a parent’s heart. The heart that anticipates how much the gift will be enjoyed by that particular child as he goes round and round the driveway with a sunny smile on his face.

At last all the stockings were stuffed and every present stashed under the tree. We ate Santa’s cookies and discussed what we thought the children’s reactions to their gifts would be. Our eldest, whose love language is quality time, would enjoy her activities and games with us. Our little guy would constantly ask for acts of service and imaginary repairs on his bike that he would want us to help with. Our youngest would delight in her pink princess castle and would eagerly drink in our words of affirmation. We knew they would love their gifts, for we had thought about each child as we chose each gift.

And then it hit us. How must God also delight in giving gifts to His children?! How perfect for us are the gifts He chooses for His beloved children?

As parents, our joyful anticipation of a child’s response to their gift pales in comparison to God’s perfect delight in giving us all the blessings He has planned for us since He knitted us in our own mother’s womb. Obviously this is a poor comparison on so many levels, but we thought about how our Heavenly Father must have felt on Christmas Eve. The night when His Only Begotten Son was born into the world. Truly this was (and continues to be) the greatest gift that has ever been given to us!

Right before we tucked our children in bed we overheard our son ask his sister, “Is your heart ready for baby Jesus?... Mine is!” We knew as parents that our gift of a bike was such a small gift in comparison to the gift of the Christ Child. We are grateful that when we give gifts to our children, God allows us to participate in the joy of His Fatherhood.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father... (James 1:17)

Keeping this in mind we now know that it is important to prayerfully consider the gifts that we give to our children. Are these gifts going to bring each child closer to the person that God has created him to be, or is the gift going to be a stumbling block?