When I was young and would vocalize my Christmas wish list, I was often reminded that it was better to give than to receive. Though I’m sure my parents were just trying to help me think beyond my own childish self-centeredness, I sometimes thought I was being told that it was bad to receive. This idea was perpetuated through my adult life with the occasional misunderstanding of words such as independent and self–sufficient—bringing the message that to receive help or assistance was not good and was, in fact, an indication of my own lack of moral character.
The holidays bring many opportunities for giving. As musicians we may feel a particular need and desire to give of ourselves at this time since Christmas is so closely connected with music in our culture. I appreciate those who bring the Spirit of Christmas into my heart by sharing their musical gifts. We learn through the life of the One whose birth we celebrate that sharing our gifts with those around us is one way we can show our love for Him.
I have been taught that when we are serving our fellow beings we are serving our God. Generally this doctrine is discussed from the point of the giver. The take-home message is that giving is good. And it’s true. Giving is good. There is much joy to be found in being generous and kind. But is it really better to give than to receive?
Let’s look at that concept again—when we are serving our fellow beings we are serving our God. To me it means that when we are the one being served we stand as representatives of God. This suggests that we have the responsibility and opportunity to receive gifts from others in a similar way that He would receive them—with joy, acceptance, gratitude, and appreciation. He does not respond this way because the gift is perfect, but because His love is perfect.
This is a wonderful season of giving and receiving. My Christmas wish for you is that you may feel the joy of giving and receiving in your heart—this Season and always.