Welcome to the 25 Days of Giving. Each day we’ll focus on a different way you can teach your kids to give to others. If you missed the start of this series, you can find it here. Put the focus on giving instead of getting at Christmas this year because Jesus was a gift to us. Join in the fun by reading each day, then posting in the comments ways that you help your kids give to others at Christmas. Don’t forget to share this series with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Yesterday was the first day of winter break. We had planned to spend the day at Crown Center — ice skating at the ice terrace, having lunch at the Crayola Cafe, shopping and visiting Kaleidoscope (a really cool, free art center). We woke up to snow.
There wasn’t much snow. The grass was still peeking through the white, but around here it takes a while for roads to get clear and lots of people have no idea how to drive in snow. I heard reports of it taking people hours to get to work and the traffic reports included lots of cars off the road. We had to be back by the late afternoon, so we decided to postpone our trip downtown to next week.
My girls were really disappointed. They look forward to this trip all year, and this year we had even more fun to look forward to. When my younger daughter pulled out yesterday’s giving card, it told her to take a gift from our gift closet (where I stash cheaply bought presents for birthday parties), wrap it and choose someone to give it to. She thought that sounded like fun, but it will have to wait until next week.
Our lives in the past month have not gone as planned. Every time I think I have it under control, another unexpected issue pops up. While I didn’t plan these things, I have received blessings from them. I didn’t plan for my girls to be sick on and off for much of the two weeks following Thanksgiving, but I got to enjoy some extra one-on-one time with each of them. I didn’t plan for my grandmother to die and to have to spend a week in Kentucky, but I enjoyed the time I got to spend with family I don’t often see. I didn’t plan for the snow, but I did enjoy the extra hours to finish getting ready for Christmas.
You see, sometimes, our plans get upset. They get turned on their heads by things we didn’t expect and couldn’t have predicted. When that happens, we have two choices: we can fight the change or we can look for the blessing in the change. I’m not always good at looking for the blessing. I like it when things go the way that I’ve planned. But if I’ve learned anything in this month of unexpected, last-minute changes, I’ve learned that God can use our busted plans to bless us in ways we can’t begin to imagine.
God’s got plans for us, too, and they aren’t always compatible with the plans that we’ve made. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
In the midst of this busy Christmas season, we’re going to find that our plans don’t always go the way we want them to. Unexpected issues arise, weather gets in the way, someone gets sick. In the middle of all of that, remember that God can use even our broken plans to bring a blessing. Remember to look for the blessing today, not complain about the change.