January 05, 2010 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"Receiving Gifts"Four different people have told me about a similar hurt that they each experienced over the Christmas holiday.† Each of these people told me about the experience of giving someone a gift, only to have that person open the gift, quickly put it aside, and in the process make clear that it was not what they wanted.† In each situation, the giver of the gift was understandably hurt. †
Each of us has probably been the person on both sides of this scenario.† It is easy for us to build up expectations of what we want someone to give us, and then to be hurt when they do not meet our expectations.† To top it off, and I know I have been guilty of† this before, we are hurt when someone doesn't meet our desires or expectations even when we never let them know about them in the first place!
I don't often make new year's resolutions, but in light of reflecting upon the practice of receiving gifts, I have changed my mind for this year.† I have decided to commit to the following:† to do a much better job of receiving the gifts that I am given on a daily basis. †
The gifts I am referring to are not material gifts--they are the daily gifts of family, friendships, and faith.† They are the daily gifts of a loving touch, a kind smile, supportive words, humor, forgiveness, joy and grace.† They are the daily gifts of breath, health and life itself.† They are the daily gifts of abundance, beauty, and peace.
It is far too easy for me to mindlessly "receive" these gifts, quickly put them aside, and act as if they were not everything I wanted or expected.† When I do this, I mindlessly hurt the giver of the gifts:† my family, friends and God.
There is an additional dimension to my resolution that I am excited about.† It seems to me that in order to better receive the gifts I am given, I need to truly open them!† I need to really open and explore the gifts of loved ones, friends, and my faith.† How awesome is that!† To do this I will of course need to more fully open myself at the same time.
Happy New Year everyone!††† May your year be filled with grace and gratitude, and the giving and receiving of many gifts.
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