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The Cassia Life: How Good is Your Christmas Receiving?

December 20, 2019

The Cassia Life
By Jesse Watkins, Cassia’s own resident blogger

Christmas-gift-how-does-one-receive-well.jpgThis is the time of year when gratitude is vital. It’s sort of automatic to say “Thanks” when receiving a Christmas gift, or when a friend walks into your busy kitchen and says something like, “Put me to work.” Better yet, walks in carrying the family-traditional green beans casserole you’d forgotten to prepare.

Most of us, focused on the giving and usually quite good at it, could do better at receiving. How good is your expression of gratitude? Or do we sometimes even reject a gift by saying something like, “Oh my, I don’t deserve this.” It’s not a thanks.

Keeping things in their proper order, a major Thank You from me for being a reader of this blog, constant or occasional.  An even greater thanks seems in order to those readers standing by daily with baited breath for the next great blog.

Huh? Well, I can dream can’t I?

And a promise:  My very first New Year’s resolution will be to be as helpful as possible in selecting blog topics, in gathering supporting information, and in writing.

Christmas rings with giving and receiving, the basic Christian idea prevailing that God gave us Jesus Christ, both divine and human, to dwell among us and to demonstrate a new set of ideas to live by that puts love at the top. As stated in First Corinthians, Chapter 13, “And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

At my house and probably most others, when the Christmas season arrives the primary activity becomes one of shopping for gifts, wrapping gifts, and giving and receiving gifts. What I want to talk about for a while here is the latter of these, the receiving. You give, I receive, or the other way around.

If you’re age six or into the early teen years, there’s little doubt, receiving is the most fun. A little red wagon, a first bicycle, a computer, a new smart phone.

Somewhere then, as the years add on, our minds shift gradually to the joy of giving. Please follow me into your mind: The feeling is one of contentment, a feeling of calm satisfaction, of pleasure that is your very own, perhaps joy. Giving brings us the feeling we’ve done well, that the gift was appropriate. It was well received. The person you gave to, hopefully, spoke directly to you of his/her gratitude.

Obtaining that strength of feeling requires appreciative receiving.  Nothing would make your grandmother happier on Christmas morning than to see you charmed and excited with her gift to you.

In the bible, in The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 20, Verse 35, written by the person we call Luke, it says, “ … I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

The author, quoting Jesus, is suggesting that the giving side is where the enjoyment is. Cassia Chaplain Sarah Karber observes, “It is very true, we respond so well to needs. We are a giving people."

“Jesus has brought us another way to love our new neighbor,” the chaplain adds.

My own observation is that the receiving side is the more difficult to learn, learn to do well. As we react to each other, like now at Christmas, the shortage of gracious receiving complicates the giving we so dearly love to do. So how does one receive well?

  • Accepts what’s offered if at all possible.
  • Expresses strong gratitude directly to the giver.
  • Doesn’t diminish the worth of the gift by saying something like, “You shouldn’t have done this,” or “I don’t deserve this.”
  • In your heart, feel gratitude.
  • It’s more blessed.