December 23

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  Colossians 3:17

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a very independent person who does not need much of anything from anyone.  I am a much better giver than receiver, and that’s a source of pride for me. But an unexpected encounter at the grocery store the other day made me pause in my task-oriented, efficiency-driven, pre-Christmas whirl of a life, and wonder:  What if God wants me to be a better receiver so that others may give?

The grocery store encounter went like this.  I was gathering up some of the overflowing bags in my cart and heading to my car when I noticed that a man had stopped at my cart.  He was decades older than me, weathered, stooped, and bundled up against the cold and wind.  As he gathered up my remaining groceries from the cart into his worn hands, he said, “Let me help you.”  Usually, my reaction would be to rebuff such an offer with, “Thanks, but I can do it.”  I might even wonder if I should be the one helping him.  But, for some reason, I found myself allowing him to help me.  “Thank you,” I said.  “I could use a hand.”

As we walked to my car, he said softly, “My wife has a limp.  She uses a cane.” That was all he offered in explanation for his assistance, but no other words were needed.  “Merry Christmas,” he said as he put the bags in my car and turned to go.  He was smiling broadly at me.  “You've made my day,” I said.  And I meant it.

I will think of this gentleman often and pray that God heals his wife of her limp.  And I will ask God to open my heart this Christmas to receive and to celebrate the gifts others have to give.  I wonder what might be waiting for me.

Dear Father,

You are the greatest giver of all.  Open my heart and my hands to receive all that you have to give me.  Teach me to be a grateful recipient both of your gifts and of the gifts you have given others to give. We thank you for the most wonderful gift of your son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

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