Receiving the Gift

Luke 21:1-4 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

“It more blessed to give than to receive” is a phrase we hear often this time of year. We go into hunter gatherer mode the day after Thanksgiving in search of the perfect gifts to give our children, spouse, family and friends.

Do you take time to ponder the heart that went into the gifts that you are receiving? Sadly, I have probably not always articulated my gratitude appropriately. 

As my students were preparing for a Thanksgiving chapel, one of them came to me with a gift. Because I had my classroom decorated in “Americana” style, and collected eagles, Derek was thrilled to present me with a bracelet made of little heart shaped flags. I put it on my wrist and proudly wore it the rest of the season.

I treasured the thoughtfulness of this gift. When I saw Derek’s mom, told her how much I loved the bracelet and thanked her. She said, “Oh no, don’t thank me.” Observing my puzzled look, she explained that Derek had very carefully inspected the jewelry at a party she hosted, picked this bracelet out, went to his room, emptied his piggy bank and purchased the bracelet for me. The gift took on a more significant meaning. Coming from his parents, the bracelet would have been a very nice gesture of appreciation. From Derek, it was a sacrifice of his personal finances and a heartfelt gift of gratitude to bless his teacher.

I don’t ever want to take a gift for granted or without the proper gratitude. I want to receive every gift with grace and with the heart attitude with which it was given. The way we receive a gift is as relevant as how we give them. 

Christmas is a good time to stop and think about the heart of the most important gift ever given. God gave His only son to come to earth, be fully human yet fully God, to rescue us from ourselves and our sin and give us the gift of eternal life. All we have to do is receive it with a grateful heart. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Published by Keri Willis

My name is Keri Willis. I am a semi-retired educator. I spent a great deal of my career working with adults with developmental disabilities and many years in elementary education, in the classroom and as an administrator. My main ministry now is coordinating the women’s ministry for our church in San Diego, CA. I have been married thirty-four years and have two grown and married children. I now have a head of full grey hair and good ideas. I believe we are created to use our gifts and to be creative. That comes in many forms for me. I love to woodwork and use power tools, design, decorate, garden, and create new recipes. And I love to write. One major lesson I have learned in my writing journey is that I need to be still and listen to hear God’s voice before I am prepared to put into words the message he has instilled in my heart. This has been much easier since I am no longer working full time, but it is so easy to get distracted and not listen, which almost always ends with an empty page in the form of writer’s block. While I have written many articles for newsletters and local newspapers, I did not consider myself a writer until I self-published my first book, Teapots and Power Tools. The idea emerged as I was working on a project in my garage. I had worship music playing, power tools out and saw dust flying. I glanced up and saw my delicate teapot sitting on my router table. The message was clear. Sometimes we are using the power tools God gives us and sometimes he just wants us to be still and have tea with him. The book became the foundation for a women’s retreat, and then my amazing niece helped me work through publishing it on Create Space (now KDP). At least five other projects are in different stages of production. I joined hope*writers to help motivate me and keep me focused and accountable. I am still trying to figure out the whole website and blog thing. That is my next goal for myself; that and finish writing at least one of my projects! Teapots and Power Tools: Effectively using the tools God has equipped you with, while taking time to “Be Still and Know That He is God”

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