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Archive for November 21st, 2021

The Black Friday sales began as soon as the calendar turned November. Retailers, large and small, online sellers, local businesses, grocery stores and gift card merchants are peddling their wares in papers, on radio, on the sides of our social media apps and in our inboxes.

Gift purchasing is in the air.

I was thinking about gifts the other day. How gift giving has changed so much since I was a child. Way back when I was a child (not quite as far back as the stone ages, but in that direction) gifts were smaller, more utilitarian, often hand made and never returned (unless they were the wrong size).

Gifts were given as an expression of the giver and it was the responsibility of the receiver to do one thing … receive.

Today I think about gifts for our kids and realize they would rather just receive money. But let’s not lay blame on the shoulders of the next generation alone, for I remember, in years past that we also loved receiving gifts of money.

Then there are the other gifts. Ones that are grand, so grand you wonder how you will ever be able to reciprocate such an extravagant gesture. Or you wonder what strings come with such a gift.

Whatever the case we still struggle with the same thing … humility in receiving a gift.

Gifts reflect the giver. The giver is imperfect, as is the gift. In our learning to receive what one gives to us, we are also learning to receive the imperfections of the giver.

I was reminded of this one Christmas. It was our first married Christmas, just a couple months after we had walked down the aisle together, both of us wearing our rose-colored glasses.

It was afternoon of Christmas eve, when hubby announced he was headed out to start his Christmas shopping (yes, early afternoon of Christmas eve … and the stores closed at 5pm!). I asked if I could join him and, after a bit of hesitancy, he consented.

Once we arrived at the mall, I wandered while hubby did what needed to be done.

As the time for the mall to close neared hubby located me. He had very specific instructions for me as we walked back to the car. I could not look at the car and, once in the car, I could only look straight ahead.

Being the inquisitive sort, I proceeded to make guesses about what gift he got me, as we drove home. I guessed clothing, jewellery, etc. I laughingly guessed appliances like a vacuum … I mean, that would suck romance out of a relationship!

Finally, I stated (and I can still, thirty-two years later, hear my words reverberate in my mind), “it doesn’t matter what you got me, cause I’ve got you … well, except downhill skis, because I hate downhill skiing.”

Guess what I got for Christmas that year?

A few days ago, while packing up stuff in the garage for our move to a new home, hubby pointed to the skis, with the silent question of “can we get rid of them now?” hanging in the air. “No way are we getting rid of those. Those are the best gift you’ve ever given me. We just have to figure out which of our kids will inherit them.”

You see, those skis, that gift that I didn’t want … every time I see them, I am reminded of my need to humbly receive from my husband. I haven’t always done this well, as a matter-of-fact, I have been pretty pathetic at times in receiving gifts from him. When I see those skis, I do not see an imperfect, inappropriate gift, I see an opportunity to receive from the giver, with thanks, humility and appreciation.

Christmas is all about receiving gifts. It started the first Christmas, when the gift of the love and redemption that Jesus offers was delivered to humanity. The Giver has done their part, now it is our turn to do ours in humbly receiving it.

“Accepting the gift of Jesus Christ requires humility because you’re admitting that you can’t save yourself by your own means.”

Tim Keller

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