Christmas time is a time to give and receive , I think if asked we would all say that the greatest of these is to give. But I have to disagree. Receiving I believe is a far greater challenge for most of us and something that we thankfully don’t have to talk about because our society is so fixed on giving. I’m not saying it’s bad to give only that I think we are missing something when we don’t know how to receive well.
If we look at the life of Jesus we see that He was in a constant state of receiving, he had no home, He moved around and was constantly receiving food and shelter from those who gave to Him . We also see an example of this in the story of the woman anointing Jesus with perfume .
In an article from The Christian Century, Dec, 1998 William Willimon says
We prefer to think of ourselves as givers–powerful, competent, self-sufficient, capable people whose goodness motivates us to employ some of our power, competence and gifts to benefit the less fortunate. Which is a direct contradiction of the biblical account of the first Christmas. There we are portrayed not as the givers we wish we were but as the receivers we are. Luke and Matthew go to great lengths to demonstrate that we–with our power, generosity, competence and capabilities–had little to do with God’s work in Jesus. God wanted to do something for us so strange, so utterly beyond the bounds of human imagination, so foreign to human projection, that God had to resort to angels, pregnant virgins, and stars in the sky to get it done. We didn’t think of it, understand it or approve it. All we could do, at Bethlehem, was receive it. A gift from a God we hardly even knew.
Can we receive ? Can we challenge ourselves to be the kind of people who having received an amazing, unthinkable gift in Jesus Christ go forward and bless others ? Yes I believe that being a good receiver makes you an even better giver!