How to receive gifts

Every gift needs someone to accept it

Christmas is a time for giving but also a time for receiving. For every gift that is given, somebody has to receive the gift. The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive but that doesn’t mean receiving is unimportant. A part of the joy of giving a gift is seeing the response of the receiver. An ungracious receiver doesn’t bring joy to the giver.

Newtons third law of motion states that for every force there is an equal and opposite reaction. So every gift need somebody to receive it. In human terms, a gift can be offered which is not accepted, but for the transaction to be complete, the gift has to be received.

The greatest example

The greatest example we have of giving and receiving is found in the Bible:

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son… (John 3:16)

At Christmastime we remember how the God of all creation gave His only son, Jesus Christ, to us as individuals and to the whole human race. This must rate as the greatest gift ever given, but we as human beings need to accept that gift in order for the transaction to be complete.

Motives for giving

As we make gifts this Christmas time let us look at some of the reasons and motives involved:

  1. We may give purely because someone else has already given to us – or will do shortly.
  2. We may give out of duty or tradition.
  3. We may give to reinforce our sense of superiority over the receiver.
  4. We may give purely out of love and because we want the best for the receiver.


When we are offered a gift we can:

  1. Be overcome by a sense of shame because we cannot return the gift, and even refuse what is being offered to us.
  2. Say, “Oh! You shouldn’t have”, and by reluctantly accepting the gift, steal all joy from the giver.
  3. Accept the gift but ungraciously.
  4. Accept the gift with joy, bringing joy also to the giver.

“I don’t need charity”

My blog is read by people in 150 countries around the world, and I’m aware that many may be on the receiving end, and not on the giving end, so far as charities concerned.

People sometimes say, “I don’t need charity”, and refuse to accept what is being offered. Now I  understand that sometimes giving to charities can be condescending and can accentuate a feeling of superiority. The importance of maintaining the beneficiaries dignity is important, but refusing because of pride is a great shame.

“Charity” is an old-fashioned word meaning “love”. Most giving to charities is out of love and my deep desire is that the giving and receiving transaction involves more than money – it involves love and joy being passed between the giver and the receiver.

Receiving the greatest gift

Greatest giftChristmastime is when we celebrate the greatest gift that has ever been given. As we remember the birth of a tiny baby, we know that this child was a special gift from a loving God. This man, Jesus, was to usher in the Kingdom of God and ultimately bring peace to a sad and war-worn world.

This gift was for the whole human race and the impact of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has already changed the world, is still changing the world and will continue to do so more and more.

But this gift was not just for humanity as a whole, it is for you, and me, as individuals. Our part is to receive this gift, and the new life that gift brings. For a God who loves us individually, there can be no greater joy for Him, than when we accept the gift that He so freely offers.

Be a receiver this Christmas!

Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

2 thoughts on “How to receive gifts”

  1. Well done George. We wish you and Christine and the family a lovely Christmas and many blessings for the year ahead. Keep up the good work.
    Ben and Mary Benson


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