My husband has a special knack with technology–so much so that he enables me to look at magazines on some hand-held electronic device. Not long ago, I “flipped” through a Redbook magazine, and they featured a story on winter coats.
“You deserve a great new coat.” This declaration framed the piece. Hmm, I thought. Do I really DESERVE a GREAT and NEW coat? Do I deserve to have my needs met, my body kept warm in winter? Sure. But I already have a coat and a wind breaker and my husband’s zip-up hoodie, which I borrow liberally. So I can’t get on board with the concept (created by a marketing department, surely) that I am entitled to something new and stylish to replace what I already have that serves me just fine.
Winter has officially been ushered in, although we currently have our air conditioner running. So we are smack-dab in the season of coat-wearing as well as the season of Advent.
With Advent comes Christmas and the tradition of giving, the giving of gifts. Gifts that–unlike what we may read about GREAT NEW coats in a magazine–are not deserved. The very nature of a gift means that it’s something given voluntarily, something not earned or bestowed upon another as his wages.
Yesterday my husband went out to pick up some groceries while I worked on laundry and present wrapping. He bought a hot dog and drove over to an overpass where homeless folks hang out, looking for someone who might like this hot dog. My husband found a man named David who gladly took it. Was this individual owed a hot dog? Did he earn it? Of course not. He (of course) deserves to have his needs met, but the hot dog from my husband? It was, as www.dictionary.com would state, “bestowed upon another without its being earned.” Such is God’s grace with us: never earned yet always meeting our needs.
If you receive a GREAT NEW coat for Christmas, I hope you enjoy it immensely! And if you have a hot dog–or something else–to give, I hope you bestow that gift with joy. Merry Christmas!