Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Post

Christmas isn't about giving. It's about receiving.

I've heard many a sermon, not to mention a Christmas Special, about the season of giving. Charles Dickens may be the one who really popularized the idea of Christmas as the season of giving. I heard an (otherwise fairly good) sermon on Sunday that ended by saying: "If we know that giving makes us happier at Christmastime, we should know that we can be happier all year by giving."

I also heard a study on CBC radio that said there is now scientific evidence that giving makes the giver happier. We give, and it makes us feel good.

But Christmas isn't the season of giving. It's the season of getting.

Have you ever gotten a present from someone you didn't know very well, or didn't like very much? A present that was so much better than what you'd gotten them that you didn't really know how to react? Did it make you grateful, or embarrassed? How do you respond when someone you didn't get anything for gives you the best present of the year?

Christmas is about that kind of receiving. On Christmas we remember that we have received from God, not only all of creation, and not only our own life, not only the promise of peace on earth and goodwill among people, but the gift of the incarnation--God With Us. As we remember the birth of Christ we remember also the life, the teaching, the death, the resurrection. God has given us a gift beyond measure, so far beyond our ability to reciprocate that we must be only receivers, not givers.

Merry Christmas
Thanks be to God

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