Substituting our 911′s with 119′s Part 17: The Christmas Attitude of Giving and Receiving
Psalm 119:129-136 Pe
Your laws are wonderful.
No wonder I obey them!
The teaching of your word gives light,
so even the simple can understand.
I pant with expectation,
longing for your commands.
Come and show me your mercy,
as you do for all who love your name.
Guide my steps by your word,
so I will not be overcome by evil.
Ransom me from the oppression of evil people;
then I can obey your commandments.
Look upon me with love;
teach me your decrees.
Rivers of tears gush from my eyes
because people disobey your instructions
As a sunrise brings hope and a sunset brings joy and peace, so does the birthday of our savior bring hope, joy and peace. What the Psalmist is describing here is the Christmas attitude. When I was a kid and was waiting to fall asleep and wake up to find all the toys Santa brought for me I was literally panting with expectation like the Psalmist here is describing when he thinks about God’s word. A Christmas like attitude should be something that happens consistently every day of the year, not just one day or holidays. As I grew up, I learned that giving is much better and rewarding than receiving. Receiving means, you have your hands open and waiting for something to drop in them. Receiving is only selfish if you are not giving back in return in some fashion. What kind of person does that make you if you only expect people to give to you and not give in return? That selfishness should have been lost when you grew out of childhood. There are three aspects to the Christmas outlook that we can look at and understand what causes each of these aspects to happen.
The first one is when we look at a sunrise and see and feel hope on the horizon. Hope gives us a dream to shoot for a purpose in our lives. The Christmas attitude is always soaked in hope. Instead of closing out a year and having hope for a new one, we should be closing out a day and having hope of the next day. A day-to-day feeling of hope is strengthening and can keep us striving forward. God’s word gives us hope and light as the Psalmist says in this portion of 119.
Joy is the next aspect of the Christmas attitude. Joy can help us have this attitude everyday. When the Psalmist says he pants with expectation he is expressing joy over God’s word. Just as I was excited to get gifts from Santa now I am excited to give gifts to see the expression of happiness that my family gets when they receive a gift that they needed or wanted. That joy should be part of our lives everyday when we may be inconvenienced by someone and help them out. We can be someone’s angel by doing something to help them and serving them. Our joy is then passed on to that person who hopefully will pass it on to the next person who may need an uplift in life.
The last characteristic is peace. The giving and receiving cycle is so important to understand as a Christian. There is peace when we understand this cycle of life that not only brings others life, but gives you life as well. When you give with no thought as to what you can get back from someone, you will receive back a greater reward. You might not receive it until the end of time, but you will get it back one way or the other. Peace comes when you are in God’s cycle of giving and receiving.
The underlining characteristic of all of these aspects is love. Without loving God, yourself and others, the cycle of giving and receiving breaks down. An unhealthy selfish love for yourself can put this whole thing in imbalance and cause you to have a life that is not significant, or at least not significant in a good sense. God wants us to have a Christmas attitude everyday of the year, not just one day. After all Christmas is not about us receiving eternal life, it’s about Jesus allowing himself to be beaten and crucified for our sins so that we can have an eternal life of significance starting the day we receive Him into our hearts. Having love as a foundation for hope, joy and peace gives us the opportunity to be a part of the great cycle of giving and receiving that Christmas is all about everyday of the year.
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.