I asked my dad at Christmas once why other children believed in Santa? The very idea made no sense. The need. After all, it seemed so obvious that no one could love me more than my parents. Why would anyone want a Santa?
My dad tried explaining Santa as a kind of bureaucrat, delegating responsibility to individual parents the same way our heavenly Father gives us earthly fathers (as if I needed to know how gift-giving worked). It was a mistake. But my dad realized it too late. I, in my 4-year-old wisdom, had already countered with a new line of thought. If God was like Santa, then who needed God? What’s the use of a heavenly Father if I already have a real, live, loving and touchable Dad, someone whose lap is always ready, whose hugs are never withheld, whose goodness is apparent even when expressed as discipline?
I remember my parents being concerned. And quiet.
Then my mom told me a story about her dad, a story I hadn’t heard before. The man I knew as Grandpa was her step-dad. Her real father, her “daddy,” had died when she was only 10 years old. I don’t remember why it made sense at the time because it didn’t really answer my question, but my Mom simply said, “Not everyone can have a daddy like yours.”
This, then, is what I learned (or at least what I remember): why God gives as he does and how he does and when may not make sense. Why others try to quantify or control God often doesn’t make sense either. Not everyone can have a daddy like mine. And sometimes, even for me, it’s hard to recognize or understand that, at heart, God is a giver.
at heart, God is a giver