“What do you want for Christmas?” is a question most of us will both ask and be asked in the run up to 25th December. No doubt more than a few have already sent off their annual letter to Father Christmas.
And it’s big business. The Retail Gazette reckons that people in the UK will spend a whopping £73 billion – yes billion not million – on Christmas this year.
In case you weren’t aware, the Bible doesn’t mention Father Christmas, even though he has connections with the St. Nicholas of church history.
It does however refer to our heavenly Father as the Father of Lights. James, Jesus’ brother is the one, the only one who uses this title for God:
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.(James 1.16-18)
Here’s my suggestion: amongst all the giving and receiving that you do this Christmas, why not ask the Father of Lights for a special gift?
How can you ask and be sure you will receive?
First of all, ask with a right motive.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures (4.3).
It’s possible to ask for something for the wrong reason. God will not give you a “something” that revolves around your pleasure!
Secondly, ask for what is in line with God’s revealed will.
Here’s what Jesus’ disciple John said about asking God:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5.14-15)
Wow! If what we ask for is in line with His will, we know that He hears us, and because we know He hears us we know we will receive what we asked for!
The Amplified Bible drives home the point even more strongly:
This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that [c]if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. 15 And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.
The question therefore is how does what you are looking for line up with God’s will?
There are lots of things we don’t know about God’s will. But there are lots of things we do know about God’s will. That He wants us to be full of the Spirit. That He wants us to be more like Jesus. That He wants us to have a godly influence on the people around us. That He wants our families to know His love. That He wants to give us wisdom.
Finally, what result would a positive answer to your request produce?
The prayer Jesus taught His disciples, that we know as the Lord’s prayer gives us a guide to the kind of results we should look for from our prayers:
- Extension of God’s influence – your kingdom come, your will be done
- Needs being met – give us this day our daily bread
- Strengthening our relationship with God and others – forgive us our sins as we forgive
- Prevailing in spiritual conflict – lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
Why not get writing to the Father of Lights? After all, it’s not like He’s keeping a big brother-like eye on you to make sure you’ve been a good boy or girl.
No, He gives to all without finding fault (James 1.5) .