A piece of good old Americana is that classic holiday satire A Christmas Story. What’s not to like about family dysfunction mingled with love around the holidays?
Spoiler alert: When we come to the scene where the family’s gifts have all been opened, our hearts sink as we feel main character Ralphie’s disappointment. The only present he truly wanted wasn’t under the tree.
Just when hope seems lost, Darren McGavin’s fabulous character as Ralphie’s dad provides us with a magical movie moment. Feigning wonder, The Old Man Parker gets a glint in his eye. A nervous anticipation rises in his voice as he feigns wonder at the gift that has intentionally concealed until this precise moment. Barely containing his zeal, we watch as this dad laughs in delight as his son reveals the much anticipated Red Ryder B. B. gun.
Thinking of this scene, I ask myself, “Was this a needy dad?” Did he go to such effort to surprise his son because he was needy? No, this was not a needy dad. This was a dad who had such a gun at his age and knows the pleasure it will bring to his son.
Now I ask myself the same question about God. Did God create people because He was needy? Did he put Adam in charge of the garden and bring him animals, bring him his wife because He was needy? Did he need mankind to affirm His creative skills?
For those of us who enjoy giving gifts, there is a joy felt that supercedes receiving. We do so because we are like our Dad. We give gifts because God gives gifts.
So is God needy? On the contrary, God is complete. He gives in order to delight.