Giving is SUCH the all-star of the Christmas holiday. And rightly so.
But I am thinking today that the spiritual discipline of receiving is sometimes overlooked and under-rated. There truly is an art to receiving graciously. It’s almost harder to do than giving generously, one might say.
And that one would be me.
I was considering the receiving of gifts today as I taught about the wise men with their thoughtful and intentional gifts to the Baby/Toddler Jesus. Gold, fit for a King. Frankincense as used by the Priests. Myrrh appropriate for a sacrifice.
So at Christmas we give to each other just like the wise men gave to Jesus, right?
But what about receiving like Jesus did?
He surely modeled receiving graciously–even as a baby. Do you picture Him content in the swaddling clothes on the straw of his crib? Did He express riveting wonder at the shiny containers brought by the people all dressed up and riding on ginormous camels? Did he giggle at the antics of the sheep all over the place as the shepherd lads just wanted to come closer to Him?
Receiving is important too. It is what the giver is waiting for. The response to the gift.
I can not even count the number of times I’ve been personally challenged to think of something to GIVE in honor of Baby Jesus during the tremendous celebration of his arrival on the earth. But maybe I should be working harder to receive something with grace and gratitude. Not some thing. But something. Something else.
Our Director of Youth threw a perfect arching spiral football from the platform in church today to my husband, the wide receiver in the balony who caught it with pride. DURING the service. Both men were thrilled.
Jesus gave his heavenly life to become a man. Then he gave his example, his wisdom and his life. THEN He gave the Holy Spirit and a whole slew of promises. But all that happened after He first received.
Have I been a “wide receiver?” Am I waving to Jesus with both hands that “I’m open?”
Open to a new prompting from the Holy Spirit,
Open to receive peace he’s ready for me to have. Or patience.
Or how about a fresh new heaping supply of self-control?
Not every gift is what we had in mind or the item at the top of our wish list. But you can be sure that the gifts God has for us that we choose to receive are picked out with extreme purpose and given with love and expectation.
Continue to give to others with joy, at Christmas time and always…
But don’t forget about the power of receiving with love, grace, gratitude and openness, for this is a gift in itself.
(The one that keeps on givin’ the whole year long…)