Thursday, December 8, 2016

This Sunday @ Locust Hill UMC::: All I Want for Christmas WEEK 3

We try very hard when we are in need to put on a brave face. Trying to say to the world that we are holding it together... when really we are not. When others find out our struggles and needs and they desire to help... what do we do? We resist receiving what they offer us. 

Maybe we do this because we are taught to resist being a receiver by phrases like "it is better to give than to receive." We are taught that being a receiver is weak and we should always strive to be the giver.

I wonder how this all plays out in the Advent narrative. Our series has been so far about receiving the tremendous gift of hope that God has offered us. We receive it in the midst of our struggles and darkness in hopes of new possibilities. Mary surely from our standards was not the runner up for the person to bear God's child but she was favored. She had limitations and struggles in her own life yet she received the gift of God, "Here I am Lord!" She confessed her own poverty in hopes of not only transforming her own life but the life of others. 

Here is a test for you to see if you are a good receiver. If I ask you, "Do you receive God's gift of hope into your life?" You probably would say yes. Let me set up a different scenario for you. You get sick and are bed ridden for two weeks. You haven't been able to clean your house and it needs cleaning. Good news! Sister Susie has showed up at your door with cleaning supplies and ready to get to work. She says to you, "Can I clean your house for you?" Most people will say THANK YOU but NO THANKS. What we fail to recognize is that standing in front of us isn't just a generous giver with some cleaning goods. It is HOPE sent by CHRIST in the form of Susie with cleaning supplies. So what does this mean... if you don'r receive this gift for whatever reason you are sending not just Susie away... you are sending Christ's gift to you...away. 

Here is what we fail to recognize is that when we receive the gift Christ offers us through the form of our brothers and sisters in Christ something mysterious and great is happening. Because God is doing something great not only in your life but also in the person that is the giver. 

So maybe the challenge and the growth for us this season isn't to be a BETTER giver but to be a BETTER RECEIVER because maybe it is in our capacity to confess our needs and to be the recipient of someone else gift that we are able to be more generous givers.