One of Moroni’s exhortations in the final chapter of the Book of Mormon is to “remember that every good gift cometh of Christ” (Moroni 10:18). This echoes the testimony of James:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.James 1:17
We’re in gift-giving season. In addition to Christmas, there are three December birthdays in my immediate family, so this month is a time for me to experience the joy (and the anxiety) of gift-giving. I was thinking today about some characteristics of good gifts, and how the gifts we receive from God have these characteristics. Perhaps not every good gift has all of these attributes, but I think they are representative of good gifts:
- A good gift is personalized. It demonstrates an awareness of the recipient, his or her preferences, interests, and goals. The gifts we receive from God are selected specifically for us: “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man [and woman] is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:11).
- A good gift is durable. It benefits the recipient for a long time. Many of God’s gifts are permanent, including “eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7).
- A good gift enhances the recipient’s life. It may provide new experiences, allow the person to develop new skills, or help the person perform existing activities in a new way. God told Oliver Cowdery, “Behold, thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift…. Therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:10-11).
- A good gift requires some sacrifice on the part of the giver. The sacrifice demonstrates the love that the giver feels for the recipient. The Savior paid the ultimate price to give us the ultimate gift: “As many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God…. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again” (3 Nephi 9:17, 22).
The Savior said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (3 Nephi 14:11, Matthew 7:11).
Like all other gifts, the gifts we receive from God are ours to use and enjoy, but only if we are willing to receive them:
For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.Doctrine and Covenants 88:33
Today, I will remember the many good gifts I have received by God. I will strive to follow His example of perfect gift-giving during this season and throughout the year. I will also strive to receive and appreciate the perfect gifts He offers to me.