Better to receive than to give. Or now HOW to receive…

Apparently, children change the entire dynamic of Christmas. My mom’s side fo the family gathers every other year for the grand gift exchange, and lately, it’s been a lot of older kids.

So you know—us, picky millennials that either want a very specific thing or just a gift card. We ruin any possible surprise, and our faces upon opening the gift, show it.

But when the younger generation is involved—the ones that still believe in Santa—all of the adults get more excited for the coming celebration. We are looking forward to seeing their faces when they open the next big shiny toy. A MONSTER TRUCK or BARBIE HOUSE they scream! And then it’s as if you have given them a spoonful of sugar as they rip through the box like a madman and run around showing off their latest treasure. Well, sugar was probably involved any way, if we’re honest.

Why is that so fun? Watching them become big eyed and ecstatic?

I believe it’s because there’s something particularly magical about good gift RECEIVERS.

It takes special people to be good gift givers. They are the ones who catch your dropped hints, or know you just right to get you a gift that even you didn’t realize you needed.

But a good gift receiver, is another story.

The Lord would love us all to be better gift receivers. We are not the best at saying thanks to God on a consistent basis, nor are we praiseworthy in our attempts to be grateful for the greatest gift of all—Jesus.

Think about it. When was the last time you stopped to analyze how worthy of death you are in this very minute? I’m not trying to be gruesome here, just real. There is no way I deserve to be alive for all of the things I have done, said, thought, etc. Past tense or even present. It’s scary how terribly no good and perfectly rotten that I am.

Then there’s Jesus. Who comes not on our best day, but our worst. The Bible tells us that while we were in the very act of our sinfulness, he died for us. And in another section, the words are clear:

“Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.”

We stop and recognize that we, like children, can do nothing without God’s help. Our reaction to this gift of forgiveness and grace should look more like Will Farrell’s character in Elf, who was so excited to see Santa. I KNOW HIM, he declared.

I’M FORGIVEN BY HIM! And there was nothing I could do to make up for it. But he freely gives! Oh thank you!

Thank you, Jesus.

How can you be more thankful today? Could you take a moment to express gratitude for the littlest of things? From your parking spot to your breakfast, then on to the bigger things like your car, job, place to call home, food on the table, friends, family, etc. etc.

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