50 Gifts God Has Given Us

It’s Christmas which means three things: 1. The UPS man has been here more times than I can count. 2. I am desperately trying to find time to make Christmas cookies. 3. It’s time for my annual Christmas post. (If you’d like to revisit last years, just click HERE – A Letter To Mary.) So a few weeks back I asked the Lord, “What would you have me share this year?” to which one word kept coming to mind: gifts. Not surprising since I love presents and like to remind my husband on a regular basis “gifts” is indeed my love language. But gifts Lord? Yes beloved, gifts.

Well okey-dokey then, gifts it is. Never did I imagine the blessing that would come with studying the many gifts God has given us. It’s breathtaking. It’s humbling. It’s by no means exhaustive, but has served to remind me of the vast goodness of my God every time I’ve read through it. I urge you to not just read the first word but the verse too; that God’s love for you this Christmas might sink in a little deeper. But remember it’s through Christ Jesus alone we know and experience these gifts as God intends. So without further ado, I present you with 50 Gifts God Has Given Us:

  1. Light – “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
  2. Food – “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.” Psalm 145:15
  3. Rest – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
  4. Presence – “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
  5. Peace – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
  6. His Spirit – “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5
  7. Life – “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus…” 1 Timothy 6:13
  8. Breath – “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10
  9. Steadfast love – “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1
  10. Mercy – “The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” Psalm 145:9
  11. Warning – “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”” Hebrews 10:30
  12. A Future – “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
  13. Rain – “He gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields.” Job 5:10
  14. His life – “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
  15. An eternal kingdom – “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
  16. Justice – “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” Luke 18:7
  17. Victory – “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
  18. Leadership – “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry…” Ephesians 4:11-12
  19. Eternal Life – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
  20. His Word – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  21. Riches – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
  22. Worth – “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
  23. Shelter – “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…” Isaiah 25:4
  24. Counsel – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8
  25. Possessions – “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19
  26. Righteousness – “The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” Romans 3:22
  27. Reconciliation – “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:11
  28. Adoption – “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
  29. Grace – “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7
  30. Evidence – “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
  31. Confidence – “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17
  32. Inheritance – “Born again…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4
  33. Acceptance – “But in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Acts 10:35
  34. Belonging – “And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” 1 Cor. 3:23
  35. Security – “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37
  36. Wisdom – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
  37. Repentance – “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31
  38. Kindness – “…for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35
  39. Unity – “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” John 17:22
  40. Purpose – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
  41. Freedom – “And by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39
  42. Strength – “I can do all things through him who strengthens” Philippians 4:13
  43. Hope – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
  44. Every Good Thing – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
  45. Children – “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3
  46. Joy – “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
  47. Forgiveness – “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28
  48. Salvation – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
  49. Love – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  50. A Sign – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

Merry Christmas!

Dear Mary, Did You Know?

Dear Mary,

You don’t know me, but I know your Son. Your firstborn. Son of the Most High God and LORD of all the earth. Or maybe I should say he knows me. I think that might be better. For it’s He who searches hearts and minds (Rev. 2:23). He who made me and holds me together. He’s my rock, my refuge, my shield.

What was it like Mary, to raise him? To have the radiance of God’s glory call you mother; the author of life (Acts 3:15) and salvation (Heb. 2:10) play on your living room floor; the Son of the living God eat at your table. Indeed Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42).

Did you know Mary? Did you know you held the source of eternal salvation in your arms? (Heb. 5:9) Did you know you were rocking the Shepherd and Overseer of souls (1 Peter 2:25); tickling the toes of the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8); playing peekaboo with the Savior of the world? What went through your mind as you tucked in bed the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5) and kissed goodnight the face of God?

Were you taught as a little girl of the virgin birth to come? “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Could you even fathom you were the one Isaiah spoke of seven hundred years before; the one to bring forth the Redeemer? (Is. 47:4).

Who would have thought, the Author of Life, would put on flesh to be the Author of salvation. It leaves me undone every single time I think about it. “Taking the form of a servant…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8). What a story! A story you got to be a part of.

I’m challenged by your immediate willingness to surrender your life to His service. Were you scared (Luke 1:29)? I would have been terrified. To be with child and yet not married – they could have stoned you. I would have hid.

And you did for a while – escaping to be with Elizabeth. Whose greeting must have welcomed you like the fullness of spring. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42) She knew! She already knew!

Knit by love and wonder and the greatest of men growing in your wombs, how sweet were your conversations in the still of each day’s light? Did you sit hot tea in hand, while Zachariah played his part, silently mouthing the Scripture bombarding his eager heart? Or maybe he wrote them word for word, the verses he’d hidden deep inside, while his two favorite ladies treasured each one with unhindered delight.

Then empowered by God’s grace in the arms of your dear friend, you went home to face the future, no matter how it would end.

How nervous were you to tell Joseph? I would have pleaded with God to tell him instead. Yet left with no choice, you forged ahead. Did you beg him to listen; did you beg him to stay? And then sit in confusion when the conversation didn’t go your way? Or did God step in and save you, as he’d soon do for us all, before the brokenness of rejection crept in to make you fall.

Though relief kindly met you the day of Joseph’s dream, I’m willing to bet misjudgment didn’t make you beam. Pregnant out of wedlock, how many painted you an immoral girl? Did your parents believe you? Did Joseph’s understand? Or was it a whore of a daughter-in-law they thought they got instead.

Then the decree to register, did it take you by surprise? Or fit like a piece in the bigger than you puzzle of your life? (Micah 5:2) Yet knowing time was near, you had no choice but to go south ninety miles on a donkey or perhaps a cart. Ankles swollen, baby ready, you rode the rough terrain with a man you called your husband to the town we all know by name.

How scared were you Mary when the first contraction came? When it seized you with determination, did you hide it at all the same? Counting and recounting until you couldn’t hide it anymore. What went through your mind when no one would open their door?

Wake up Bethlehem your time in history has come, yet there was no place for you to have God’s sweet and precious son. Was Joseph mad with urgency? Could you hear it in his voice? Did you plead with him to hurry? Did you plead with him to help? Until he finally found a stable or perhaps a room off to the side, to welcome the King of Glory in a manger on his first night.

Where was the fanfare? Where was the fun? For the birth anticipated since the garden had come undone.  It was reserved for a few meager shepherds tending their flocks not far. Who heard the angels call and followed a special star.

I’d say it’s not what you pictured when Gabriel first made mention of the plan. But I have a feeling it didn’t matter once you held his tiny hand. Could you sense the magnitude of the moment? Could you sense heaven standing by? As they watched Immanuel invade the world with a simple little cry.

Did you know time stopped counting down at his arrival and began counting up until his next? Could you fathom the baby you were holding was deity at it’s best? Diminished in his glory so the world would know him not. How did you later let go? For it’s my freedom that he bought.

Nestled in your arms for only a short time, you knew the birth of this child would change your life forever (Luke 1:48), but did you know it would also change mine? Thank you for your example. Your willingness to say yes, when God called you and put you to the test.

Mother of the great I AM your new normal, I have no idea how you did it so informal. One day at a time that’s how we mothers roll. In hopes of raising great kids, because that’s always the goal.

But yours was great from before time began. Perfect in every way he still holds my hand. Faithful until the end I’ve received him as my King, thank you Mary he makes my heart sing.

You may have carried him then, but it’s he who now carries me. I’d be lost without him for all eternity. Bruised for my transgressions and crushed for my iniquities, he’s my Savior, my God, but it all started with him bouncing gleefully on your knees.

It happened didn’t it? It’s all true. He came, he died, and came back, and reigns over me and you. I look forward to meeting you someday and talking as only mothers can. But until then Mary, I’m holding tight to the precious boy your raised up to be a man.

In Christ Alone,
1482178281883

A Letter to Mary

Dear Mary,
You don’t know me, but I know your Son. Your firstborn. Son of the Most High God and LORD of all the earth. Or maybe I should say he knows me. For it’s He who searches hearts and minds (Rev. 2:23). He who made me and he who holds me together. He’s my hope. “My rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Ps. 18:2).


Devotional Scripture: Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-40
Key Verse: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11


What was it like… to raise him? To have the radiance of God’s glory call you mother; the author of life (Acts 3:15) and salvation (Heb. 2:10) play on your living room floor; the Son of the living God eat at your table. Indeed Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42). Not because of who you are but simply because of who HE is.

Did you know Mary? Did you know you held the source of eternal salvation in your arms? (Heb. 5:9) Did you know you were rocking the Shepherd and Overseer of souls (1 Peter 2:25); tickling the toes of the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8); playing peekaboo with the Savior of the world? What went through your mind as you tucked in bed the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5) and kissed goodnight the face of God?

Were you taught as a little girl of the virgin birth to come? “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Could you even fathom you were the one? You. were. the. one. God had planned all along to bring forth our Redeemer (Is. 47:4).

It’s incredible isn’t it? Who would have thought, the Author of Life (Acts 3:15) himself, would put on flesh to be the Author of our salvation (Heb.2:10). “Taking the form of a servant…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8). What a story! A story you got to be a part of.

I’m challenged by your immediate willingness to surrender your life to His service. Were you scared (Luke 1:29)? I would have been terrified. To be with child and yet not married – they could have stoned you. And what of Joseph? Did you know he planned to quietly divorce you? Did you worry for your future and that of your child? Did you question God’s plan? I’ll be honest, I do sometimes. But the LORD had everything worked out didn’t he? (I need to remember that.)

But that didn’t mean it would be easy. (Though we often think it should be.) Your life was anything but easy. From people assuming you got pregnant out of wedlock to the decree from Caesar to register. Did you know it was necessary? Did you know the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem? I would have balked at the idea of traveling. Travel now? You want me to travel now? But it appears you went willingly.

Did you panic at the first contraction? “No…not here…not now. I’m not home. And I’m here with a man I’ve yet to know intimately.” Did you tell Joseph right away or delay for a while? Counting. Waiting…until you couldn’t hide it anymore.

Until it was time. Time for the birth of God’s own Son. A birth anticipated since the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15). Yet there was no fanfare (except in the host of heaven). No red carpet. No special treatment for the mother of Immanuel. In fact there was not even a room. Not even one. Just a stable, most likely, with animals and a manger; that held the eternal King of Glory on his first night.

It’s probably not what you pictured when the angel Gabriel first told you God’s plan. But I have a feeling it didn’t matter. Not even a little once you laid eyes on your baby boy. The great King of kings; the Maker himself. Could you sense the magnitude of the moment? Did you know time stopped counting down at his arrival and began counting up until his next? You knew the birth of this child would change your life forever (Luke 1:48). But did you know it would change mine? And multitudes of others?

Thank you Mary. Thank you for your example. When God gives me a task I pray I’ll respond as you did with reverent obedience. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). For He is trustworthy isn’t he? He is the true God. The only God. And it really happened didn’t it? He came. You held him. And nursed him. And loved him.

And he grew as all our babies do. And he willingly laid his life down for me; for you. Crucified on a cross before your very eyes. Bearing the wrath of God for all men. Until it was over. And he was gone. Did you know he’d be back? Did you understand? Oh what a sweet reunion it must have been for you. He’s alive isn’t he? He’s alive today! I know he is. For he lives within me. You may have carried him but he carries me. Every day he carries me. I look forward to meeting you some day and talking as only mothers can. But until then I’m holding tight to your son, my Savior and my God.

In Christ Alone,
Stacey