My Favorite Christmas Gift
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On Christmas day there is always one present that I rush to open before anything else. It’s not under the tree or in my stocking, but on the fireplace mantle there’s a little framed card that has become my favorite Christmas gift. This gift isn’t expensive, flashy, or bought in a store, but it’s the most personal, encouraging, and valuable gift I open each year. And it’s a gift we all should be giving more often.
My Father’s Tradition
About ten years ago, my dad started the tradition of giving each family member a prophetic word for the coming year. Months before the Christmas season, he begins to spend time in prayer listening for what God would say to each one of us. He types them on in pretty fonts, and frames them for us to display at home where we’ll be reminded of them long past Christmas morning.
The words are short and simple, just a few sentences, but they are always spot on to what my heart needs to hear that year. From an inner healing perspective, I love the thought of my earthly father partnering with my heavenly Father to give me a special gift.
God could always just tell me these things Himself in prayer, but the prophetic has a way of making us actually listen to what He is saying. Rarely do the prophetic words say anything my dad would have already known, so hearing the words come from my dad confirms all the more that it is God speaking to me through him. It’s so reassuring to get such confirmation that the things I think God is telling me are not just in my imagination.
The Gift of Prophecy
1 Corinthians 14 tells us of prophecy, “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy […] the person who prophesies speaks to people for edification, encouragement, and consolation.” (HCSB) Sometimes we can get tripped up by the term “prophetic word” because of how others have misused or misrepresented them in the past. But prophecy is simply speaking God’s truth in a way that edifies, encourages, and consoles others.
Maybe start your own tradition this year of giving prophetic words to your loved ones. My dad frames ours but you could start a journal to fill each year, write cards, or simply spend some time praying over one another and sharing what God puts on your heart. (For your words of affirmation love language folks this will be the best gift you could ever give them.)
It can be vulnerable to share what you hear from God with others, especially family; it definitely was a vulnerable place for my dad. But the blessings we have all reaped from him willing to be vulnerable were well worth the risk it took to begin sharing them.
If you want to learn more about growing in the gift of prophecy check out Translating God by Shawn Bolz, it’s a great down to earth introduction to walking in the spiritual gift of prophecy without being weird and is also one of the text books we use in The Inner Healing School.