It was Christmas 1995.
Old Navy polar fleece had just come out. I was in 8th grade and everyone had a colored, furry sweater….except me. I was far beyond believing in Santa Claus, but made my “Christmas List request” for a new sweater very known to my parents.
Christmas Eve had come and I just knew…I had this feeling….that my brand new sweater was under the tree. My parents would pull through and grant me my Christmas wish. Naturally, it would all work out the way I had envisioned it in my imagination. I had even gone so far as to plan out in my mind when I would wear my new sweater and what jeans I would wear it with, etc. I was just waiting to find out what color it was, so I could coordinate my scrunchie.
Everything was perfect.
The excitement of the evening filled my house. Christmas carols were playing on the tape-player, presents were ready to go for the next fun-filled day of celebrating Christmas….cookies, lights… Ah, yes, the Christmas joy and anticipation.
My brother, who was in 4th grade at the time, was coming unglued with utter excitement about having me open his gift to me. He was so excited, in fact, that he wanted to “break” Christmas tradition to have me open his gift Christmas Eve.
“Kelly…You’re going to LOVE it!” my little brother, Brian said with exasperated breath.
He couldn’t wait any longer and handed me the gift. My parents graciously decided that we could buck tradition and open one present the night before.
Brian waited, huge smile went across his face as he watched me, with utter excitement, open the red and green wrapped package.
I shook the box and immediately knew it was something soft and most likely some piece of clothing. Could it be???……
—-Got the package unwrapped….white rectangle box….opened it to find white tissue paper…..pulled that open….and….
It was an Old Navy, light blue, zippered…..sweater VEST.
Not a sweater, like I had asked, but a sweater VEST….meaning, open front, no arms. Yup, a vest. Called me spoiled, whatever, but in that moment my heart sank.
I thought to myself, “This is not what I asked for?”
My mom had always taught me “smile and say thank you even if you don’t like the gift.”
The truth was, I liked the gift (in fact, I STILL have it in my closet today!), it just wasn’t exactly what I had asked for.
This was hard….really hard! My brother was waiting anxiously for my beam of excitement, smile, approval of his gift, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. So, I smiled and said “Thank you, I love it.”
I quickly took my new vest upstairs and closed the door, and I cried. Yup, (stupid) I cried over an Old Navy sweater vest…I got what I wanted but not exactly.
Jesus says in Matthew 7: 9-10 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake?”
God gives us perfect gifts. He supplies our every need. Sometimes what we ask for He gives to us but it’s not in this nice neat little package like we had imagined it. It might be different than we had excepted it to be. It might be a vest. The point is God, our Father, knows what is best for us and gives us the very best of what we need.
If we ask for bread for our table, He might supply us with english muffins….or tator tots. But a rock plopped into the serving bowl, served up with a side of playground pebbles, would not be fulfilling the needs of His children. He knows that.
Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
He provides, and He provides means TO provide. It just may not be exactly the way we had invisioned it.
And Christmas morning 1995…funny, all my foolish tears, in the privacy of my bedroom, the night before were completely wasted. My parents had gotten the message loud and clear. Apparently, there was a Christmas sale at Old Navy on polar fleece a few weeks before, so not only did I get the vest…but I got a dark blue sweater, and a gray fleece pullover. A bountiful new wardrobe for a 14 year old girl….who wasted her tears on needless requsted fashion.
Following the path,
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