I wrote yesterday that we need to learn how to receive and allow others to serve us even, and possibly importantly, if we feel we are called to serve those that are around us.
Admitting to needing to learn how to receive seems a little strange. It’s hard for myself to admit that I need to learn how to receive things from others with grace and without that immediate desire to return the favour with something better. But I was not always like this. I do not remember having any difficulty receiving when I was a child. We only have to observe children opening presents to realise they have no problem with receiving gifts.
When I was a child I knew how to receive …. so what has happened? I don’t simply need to learn how to receive, I need to remember how to receive. Maybe I need to learn from the children around me.
But why? The niggling question that’s been going around in my head for the last 24 hours is ‘why is it so important to know how to receive?’
I think it is important at this time of Advent in particular because, as Bodenheim shares in her thought for today, ‘Advent is a time of warning and penitence, a time of critical reflection of our faith. During these times we make room for confessions. We drop our defensiveness. We acknowledge that we are not God.’
When we live lives that we control due to technology we lose sight of that fact that we are created. When we are always looking to prove ourselves, to add those little things into conversations in an attempt to show that we kno everything, we lose sight of the fact that we are human. When we use technology to keep going when the seasons imply we should slow down, we lose sight of the fact that we are fallible. It becomes easy to delude ourselves into thinking we are central to all. But we are not. God is.
Advent is a good time to wait and to receive, for in receiving we realise we do not have it all, that we need help, that we are not God …. but that God is here … and God is waiting.
Since the other post I have been thinking about this ‘receiving” thing and how it can be difficult. I found myself thinking about grace compared to works. In the natural, like you say, if someone gives us something, we feel that we owe them or need to do something back, whereas God isn’t waiting for a return on his gift. Grace, though it cost something, is given to us freely. Is it possible that our awkwardness at receiving in the natural is a reflection of our receiving in the spiritual? Like, we need to “do works” to thank God for his grace? Generally people are suspicious if anything is free, but Gods grace is not a debt needing to be repaid. We don’t “owe” him for his gift.
At this time of year, we are especially mindful of his gift of grace given to us and whom we can freely choose to receive and to follow.
Reading this back, it feels as though I am making no sense, but it makes perfect sense in my head! 😀
I think you are hitting on something in the awkwardness of gift receiving reflected in the awkwardness of spiritual thing …. seems to go with the no divide thing between spiritual and physical … thank you