Day after Christmas…
Colorful wrapping paper is crumpled in the trash can.
Gift cards are tucked in wallets, the new mug holds hot coffee, books wait to be read, and the air hums with “electronic toys.”
After weeks of buying, wrapping, mailing, and opening objects…meant to express love and bring someone joy…it is finished. At least the consumer in me.
Some folks rose early to find a bargain at the Day-After-Christmas sales, returned an unwanted gift.
I’m done with shopping.
Today, we write thank you notes.
That’s right…not a text, but the old-fashioned, handwritten note that comes via snail mail.
That’s how I was raised; passed it on to my children.
Say please, say thank you.
But there’s a harder lesson to learn than manners.
To give gifts or acts of service when there is no reciprocation; perhaps, not even a thank you.
To give without expectations.
Otherwise, my unmet expectations become kernels of resentment which “pop” into foul-tasting bitterness.
Perhaps, some might say, ungrateful people don’t deserve the gift.
I can judge people’s response, or the lack thereof, but
I can only be certain of my own heart’s intent. Am I giving out of love or obligation…expectation?
I went to a Christmas party where there was a book exchange. Each guest could take an unwrapped book off the table or take one that someone else had opened.One woman clung to a book which looked appealing. I wanted the book, but instead I told her, “I’ll let you keep the book. Consider it grace.”
Then I laughed, “Don’t forget you owe me.”
The Holy Spirit poked my ribs, “Excuse me?”
“Grace” and “owe” are polar opposites.
Grace is mercy, a kindness; undeserved favor extended to others.
Owe means someone has to give or repay.
Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Christ; the WORD of God made flesh…a gift of love and grace to mankind.
God knew….NOT everyone would receive, or appreciate the Divine gift.
There’s no way to repay Him.
But the Lord gave His only begotten Son,
And STILL, HE loves and gives grace on a daily basis.
“Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.” (Psalm 148:13)
And by His grace, and example,
Learn to love and give to others even when there are no thanks.