Do you like surprises? I love them! Do you like gifts? Love 'em! A gift that is also a surprise? Da bomb!
We have been given the awesomest, surprisalicious, gigantigor gift of all -- eternal life!
A few weeks ago, I ran into a friend at the mall. She was there with her sister-in-law. The sister-in-law, adopted years ago from Korea, had visited Korea 6 months ago for the first time and met extended family she never knew she had. Her newly discovered half-brother from Korea spent those last 6 months learning English so he could visit the states for the first time to visit the sister he had never known he had, either. Quite a wonderful family reunion! While at the mall, he went into a hat shop to buy himself a hat. He wanted to buy hats for his sister's daughters, too. Being polite, American teens, they thanked him, but declined to accept his generous gift. He was quite insulted until he had the awareness to recognize the cultural difference. He quietly took his sister aside and explained that in Korea, when kids are offered a gift, it is a sign of respect to graciously accept the gift. Not to accept the gift was an insult. And so they did finally graciously accept his gift as a sign of respect to their newly found uncle.
It made me wonder why we have taught our children not to accept gifts. A gift is a blessing! Instead of teaching them to decline politely, what if we taught our kids to accept gifts with great big outward expressions of joy and delight? What better way to offer respect to the giver! What better way to bring joy to all involved? What better way to graciously accept God's gift of salvation than to dance, shout, sing, and gleefully express our gratitude every day!
Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 2:4-5, 8
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.