Monday, December 23, 2013


OH, YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE! I’ve repeated that phrase at numerous gift-receiving events. And I have also had that phrase repeated to me.  Sometimes I would like to respond, “Yes, you’re right, I shouldn’t have, but I did.” The phrase, given or received, is often done with a sense of false humility. We’re actually glad that we were thought of, and we might have even thought we were entitled to receive the gift, but we surely don’t want to seem too greedy or heaven-forbid, ungrateful, so we dutifully say, “Thank you.”

The reality is the whole idea behind the giving of gifts is that what is given is not done so because we deserve it, or have earned it, but because a true gift is given out of love for the receiver.

This model of gift-giving finds its foundation in God. We are reminded in the Scriptures, that we truly love only because we were truly loved by God first. (1 John 4:19)  This is what the first Advent of our Lord was all about; God expressing His love to us, not just because we needed it, but because God loved us!

I suppose we could say to God’s gracious gift, “Oh, You shouldn’t have.” To which He could have responded, “You’re right, I shouldn’t have, but I did!”  God gave to us because He is love and out of His very nature He poured forth His unconditional love upon us.

What is our part?  Our part is to receive the gift with abundant, open-hearted gratitude.

This Advent receive the gift and give thanks!  It’s the proper response.

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