One of my very favorite things about Christmas morning is watching the pure, unadulterated joy on my little boy’s face when he opens presents. It doesn’t matter what he asked Santa to bring him and it doesn’t matter if the trinket costs $5 or $50; he gets so excited he can hardly stand it.
When do we stop feeling that kind of joy when receiving a gift? I reflected on this last year. Some beautiful soul(s) decided to give my family twelve secret gifts, which must have cost a decent amount of money. Plus, it must have been some work to coordinate dropping them off in secret for twelve days in a row. I cannot tell you how touched I was that someone thought to do that for my family.
But I also had conflicting feelings… I found myself thinking that we were not “needy” enough for this type of service and I started to wonder if they should have given it to someone whose circumstances were direr.
We are often told that it is better to give than to receive, and I believe that service benefits both parties. But do we get so caught up in being the giver that we forget how to receive with joy? Have you ever been embarrassed that you needed someone to rescue you instead of being grateful for the help? Do you delay asking for help because you don’t want to be seen as “needy?”
A poignant moment in the scriptures happened when Christ offered to wash the feet of His disciples. If you can imagine a world long before sanitation, you can imagine how dirty their feet would have been. Peter, who echoed some of my feelings towards receiving, would have denied the Savior this opportunity to serve. The Lord patiently taught him, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Peter immediately asked to have his hands and his head washed along with his feet.
I love the image of Peter wanting to be wholly cleansed by the Savior, as only He is capable. Truly, the Savior Himself is the Gift that we should all receive at Christmastime. None of us will ever be worthy of what He gave to us – His life. And yet, His greatest desire is that we would receive Him with joy. As we allow Him to be a part of our lives, He can make us whole.
One of my goals this year is to receive with joy. I’m not going to worry that the cost is too great or that someone else was more deserving. A friend challenged me to write something I am grateful for each night in my journal. As I have done this, I have felt more joy in receiving all the blessings God has given me. I am genuinely looking forward to Christmas morning, both as a giver and a receiver. This post is a love letter to whoever sent my family those twelve gifts. I hope you know how much we appreciate you. Your selflessness taught me more than you know.
May we all feel the joy of receiving this season,