The Incarnation and receiving gifts with joy

It’s funny how hard it is to just let good things happen.

We rejoice, of course. We celebrate. We praise God for His goodness and we come before Him with joy and thanksgiving for the gifts He has given us. And I wish that we could just stay in that place, that we could run to Him with all our thanks and excitement and praise and joy and just allow ourselves to embrace Him as the good Dad He is.

But inevitably, these seasons of consolation have a way of bringing out the places where our broken hearts are not prepared for it.

As we gingerly approach God’s gifts, so suddenly revealed and offered out to us, we may find ourselves asking, “Is this okay? Are You sure? Do You really want this?” And in our braver moments, when we look inside and we find the fear that’s crept into our hearts, we may even ask, “Are You going to take this away?”

We were not meant to doubt. We were not meant to be so careful. We were made to come to Him with joy and trust and fearless receptivity, to embrace this moment of drawing close, not to share in His suffering but to have a place in His joy. And yet, the reality is that when we find ourselves being offered the things that we desire and God shows Himself to be our Father, it can be unbelievably hard to accept it.

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19

Friends, embracing God’s goodness and accepting His gifts in the tangible ways He gives them to us is a beautiful thing. Whether that be through a new career, a new relationship, or any number of things, we are called to experience in a little way the joy of the Incarnation, God’s greatest gift to us. This is a time of rejoicing, because we can see in these little gifts the glimmer of the light that has come through Christ Jesus, a light that for many of us has come at the end of a long season of darkness.

But walking into that light, embracing fully and unashamedly the season of joy to which we are being called, will also require us to face the darkness that lingers inside us. The darkness of doubt. The darkness of fear. The darkness of hurt and mistrust from seasons when we were not treated with love and from which we learned not to expect it. It is easy to want to stay in the dark after all we’ve been through. It is natural to be hesitant of His gifts, because we can tell that this light of joy is also going to be a light of purgation. But, if we let it, accepting these gifts and walking into this light will also be the source of our transformation.

You see, by accepting the gifts of God and walking into the light of joy, we allow that light to illuminate the darkness of our hearts. And in so doing, we come one step closer to becoming the image of Christ, the One in Whom there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5) and are made ready to dwell in the eternal light of heaven. This process is difficult and can be painful, but it is also the way that we can most fully participate both in the joys we’re being offered now and in the joys to come in eternity.

May the light of the Incarnation be present in every gift you’re given.

And may you receive it with joy.