The conversation around the Christmas celebration dinner table seemed easy enough. The first question was, “What was your favorite gift you remember receiving as a child?” Fond memories flooded everyone, who included five people ranging in ages 25 to 93. Bicycles, dolls, wagons, etc. were commonly shared as stories of Christmases past were happily shared.
The second question had a more interesting outcome, and one that surprised me. “What was a gift that when you gave it meant a lot to you?” A much harder question to answer for some around the table, but especially for one person. This person continued to share gifts they had received but could not recall one they had given.
This caused me to consider how this could be. Either, this person who could not remember was completely self-absorbed and selfish and she believed it was more blessed to receive than to give, or there was another answer.
Which has the most impact on our own hearts? Receiving or giving? Being loved or to love? To have someone show appreciation to you or for you to show that appreciation? I have no scientific research to back up this assertion, but I believe my heart is more warmly touched and indelibly marked upon receiving.
Please, don’t get me wrong! I believe we should seek to give and bless people regularly. This is a virtue with which no man will argue. But to have someone stop their world even for just a second and gift us with a “thank you”, a warm hug or even a thoughtful present, fills a part of our heart that longs to be filled. It is a God created space that is meant to be filled by Him, but also by others. It is one of the many blessings of community.
So, I’m going to give the person at the table who could not remember a gift that she had given, some grace. She obviously had received many expressions of love and those gifts filled her heart and mind. The talk around the table also made me more mindful of the need to make sure that I keep a balance in the universe of giving and receiving. I hope that if I am around a table and a similar question is asked, even if I can’t recall the gifts, those around me can remember for me how I had blessed them. If they do, I guess I’ll be receiving again.
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