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Imagine being told that you could have only one gift this Christmas. One present to open. One package to rattle. Just one. Now here's the fun part: It can be anything your heart desires! What would it be?

King Solomon faced a similar decision. He wasn't asked to pick an item from the Eddie Bauer catalog. He didn't have to write a letter to the North Pole. Rather, it came during a divine appointment. God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." In essence, He handed his servant a blank check drawn on the bank of heaven. Did Solomon choose wealth? A long life? Death to his enemies? Superbowl tickets? If you've studied 1 Kings 3, you know he requested wisdom. The Lord was so pleased that He threw in a bonus. He told Solomon, "I will [also] give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings."

I think Solomon resembles, in some small way, those travelers on the Yellow Brick Road who were each pursuing something they had all along. After all, it takes wisdom to choose wisdom. God simply increased what this son of David already valued and displayed in his character. Granted, Solomon wasn't perfect, but he wrote about wisdom frequently in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, imploring others to cherish this precious gift.

What saddens me is how America has grown to devalue it.

Founding father Benjamin Franklin gave us the expression, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Smart guy. His advice implied that health, wealth and wisdom were desirable traits worth disciplining oneself to attain. Now, as we enter a new millennium, people still yearn for health and wealth, but wisdom has been cast aside or, at best, marginalized. Heaven forbid! Wisdom should be the star on our tree. The wreath on our door. The centerpiece on our table. Every day.

We talk a lot about experiencing the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of our children. What if our children could see the wonder of godly wisdom in our eyes? We teach them the value of a dollar and the value of a good education. How about the value of wisdom? It's necessary if we expect young people to be meaningfully transformed into the likeness of Jesus. And it starts with us.

I remember praying for my daughter when she was two years old. If you've ever tried to intercede for a child whose biggest challenges are potty training and surviving the ball pit at McDonald's, you know how easy it can be to lose focus. So I outlined seven key areas of her development that warrant intercession from Dad—one for each day of the week. To help me remember them, I matched the first letter of my petition with the day on which I would pray for it. Safety on Saturday. Salvation on Sunday. Mate on Monday. Well, Wednesday was "wisdom day," my weekly appointment when I asked God to help my little girl distinguish between right and wrong, cherish biblical discernment in all areas of life (including entertainment), and grow to see the world and its people as our Heavenly Father does. I did that because I believe in Solomon's assertion that wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold, rubies or anything I could put on layaway at Toys R Us (Prov. 3:13-15).

This holiday season, let's give our kids the gift that really does keep on giving. Sure, throw in a couple games or keepsakes while you're at it. Pick up a few stocking stuffers. But as you place those stunningly wrapped gifts beneath the tree, leave room for wisdom. Let's intentionally pray for it, model it and study it. A great place to start is in Proverbs. Commit to reading one of that book's 31 chapters each day during the month of January as a family. You'll be starting the new millennium with a daily dose of uncommon sense. Now, about those three wise men…

Published December 2011

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