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Receive and then Give

One of the things I try to teach my kids is how to be a giver, not just a taker. Of course, this is a
lesson I’m still trying to learn myself. The Christmas season is a great time to put some extra
emphasis on this lesson. Over the years, we’ve tried to do this in practical ways by baking
Christmas cookies for others, filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, or adopting a
family for Christmas. This is definitely a season of giving. But lately, I have been thinking that
perhaps Christmas is less about giving and more about receiving.
It seems like receiving is easy and giving is hard. However, I’ve been wondering whether that’s
actually true. Is that how it plays out in regards to our relationship with the Heavenly Father? We naturally want to give something to the Heavenly Father to impress Him and make Him happy with us. It’s as if there’s an innate desire in us to get the Heavenly Father on our side by doing something for Him. If we give our time, our money, our gifts to Him, then He will smile on us.

And so, at Christmas time you see people dropping money in the Salvation Army buckets,
feeling good about themselves because they sense that the Heavenly Father is happy with them. Please don’t get me wrong, these are really important and good things! But is this what the Heavenly Father really wants from us this Christmas?
Not too long ago, as I was journaling, I found myself writing about the many gifts that have
come through Jesus. Take a step back from your busyness and listen to what we've been given
through the birth of Jesus…Are you able to receive these gifts?
You were created in your mother's womb and also created in the image of God…You are
a child of God, an ambassador of Christ Jesus. You are righteous; you are not poor, but
you are rich in Christ Jesus. You are not lonely but are a part of the body of Christ. You
are loved…you are not weak and worthless, but you can do all things through Christ. You
are not dull and boring, but you can do immeasurably more than you can even imagine.
You are not dirty and sinful, but you’ve been forgiven. You are the answer to someone's
prayer. You are worth Jesus' life and death. You are a joy to the Heavenly Father.

We’ve been given so much, and Christmas is a day to claim and receive the life we’ve been
promised through the birth of a baby, Jesus. Yet to all who did receive him [Jesus], to those
who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12
I believe when we receive from the Heavenly Father, we also then learn what it means to give. In short, we give by receiving. We give out of a thankful heart for the grace we’ve received.
I pray that we receive all the promises that come with Jesus’ birth, His life, His death, and His
resurrection. Merry Christmas!
PS: As you receive these truths, please prayerfully consider what part you will play in helping us
meet our End of the Year Giving. www.welcome2hope.com/give