Chasing Contentment

Sunday, December 11

Gracious Acceptance
Much is made during the holiday season of giving generously. We teach our children to be 'cheerful givers.' We teach them to give to children less fortunate than they. We encourage them to give sacrificially.

This year, we are doing more of that than ever. We've seen people lose so much in our state as the result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and we decided as a family - at Griff's request - to give less to one another and more to others. This fall been an amazing teaching opportunity for us to teach Griff about seeing how blessed we are and about reaching out to those in need. God gives to us, and we should in turn, give to others.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. once said, "Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege."

We are making a conscious effort to teach Griff - and one day, Eliza - that giving to others is not something we should do periodically but rather something that should be a part of who we are. But I think it is equally important that we teach them how to accept graciously.

So much is made of giving and yet few people talk of how to accept wisely, graciously, or genuinely. And I think that's a shame.

"Oh, you shouldn't have." "It's too much, too expensive." How many times do we hear someone say that during the holidays? How many times do we say it ourselves?

I've worked in past years to ban those phrases from my vocabulary. I'm committing to it again this season. I'm not going to say either of those phrases even once. I want Griff to see me accepting gifts with the same love with which I give them. I want him to see my gratitude shine through in these interactions.

I think we all need the love and kindness and generosity this Advent season has to give. As Christians, we are God's little messengers of His love. We need to model His generosity, but we should also model how to accept precious gifts.

As we accept the gifts from friends and family with genuine love and gratitude, aren't we showing in some small way how we should accept the greatest gift given?

I strongly believe that God sends us His love in human forms. He touches us with human hands by using those people around us to minister to us. While I adore the Advent season, there are so many around us who struggle through it.

We all need friends and family who love us. We all want to feel the unexpected act of kindness bestowed by someone dear. We all delight in being surprised by generosity. And we all should experience the opportunity to bless the givers of these gifts when we receive such tenderness with grace.

As adults, we love watching our children open gifts - sometimes more than we enjoy opening them ourselves. Children have such an unabashed enthusiasm for opening presents. They delight in the paper and ribbons, boxes and bows, tissue paper and ... in that final last moment, the thrill of discovering what lies inside. Why can't we all allow ourselves that thrill?

Such a powerful excitement comes from watching that moment of surprise and joy on a child's face. Shouldn't we all come to each gift with that same feeling of pleasure and expectation? Shouldn't we make our friends and family as happy to watch us open our gifts - big or small - as our children make us when they open theirs?

Do we bring such delight to the daily appreciation of the gift Christ gave us... the gift that continues to bless us?

This season, when a gift is presented to us, we should hesitate a moment and savor the knowledge that someone loved us enough, felt us worthy enough of the creation of a gift. They made or purchased something just for us, wrapped and delivered it. Such energy that went into the small package in our hands!

A hushed and humbled 'thank you' to tumble from our lips... A heart-felt excitement on our faces reflected on the face of the giver as we share a moment in which we know we are both thankful to have one another.

Maybe this season, we should remember the value of being special - of being loved -and accept the gifts given to us with care. As someone who gives because it feels special to me, I love that moment when someone opens a gift and is truly delighted by it. I am blessed by that.

May the gifts of the season - bear hugs on hard days, an extra box of paperclips at work when one can never be found, handmade buttermints, colored boxes, momentos from a favorite locale, small treasures in big boxes - be accepted with the grace that reminds us all of the thankfulness within.

Maybe, as we graciously and humbly accept the gifts given to us, we will take a moment - with each gift we give or receive - to remember the greatest gift and whisper a hushed prayer of deep thanksgiving to the One who gives the greatest gifts and who is delighted with our acceptance of them.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, December 11, 2005  ]


Great post! Accepting is a form of giving too - giving acknowledgement to the giver. Which when I think about it is pretty much how our relationship with God is designed.
I like how you give both sides of the same coin here.

By Blogger Catez, at 4:19 PM  

I blush to think how many times the "you shouldn't have" passes my lips. The focus in that comment is really entirely on oneself, NOT on the giver or on the relationship that sparked the giving impetus.

Funny how those seemingly ingenuous phrases bite back....

By Blogger Kim Anderson, at 12:53 AM  

Post a Comment