A Sacred Act


We all know we are in a season identified in our culture as a time of giving. But what about receiving? For without this end of the equation, something that has been given cannot find a place to call home. It cannot land and be welcomed in. It cannot be expressed in any kind of a meaningful way.

It is interesting to note then how much emphasis gets placed on the one giving, along with what and how much is given. And then there is the built-in hierarchy where the giver gets the loftier position than that of the receiver. We focus on the generosity of the donor; the one who is doing for others. We even have award ceremonies where we single out, and celebrate the most generous among us. The message being; these are the truly gifted ones.

But there is no giving, no generosity possible without the receiving. Without the magnanimity of the one opening themselves up, often even submitting or surrendering, in order to receive. There is no generosity of the giver possible without the full and equal generosity of the receiver. So where are the award ceremonies for those of us who excel at receiving? No where to be found actually. Instead, those that are on the receiving side of the equation sometimes hold the undesirable position of being seen as “less than;” evoking pity, contempt, suspicion, superiority, and more.

To receive is to permit to enter. It is to take in. It is to welcome, to greet, to accept, and to serve as a receptacle for. When viewed from this perspective, receiving is a holy act. A sacred exchange that requires both sides. And this is true whether we are talking about our relationship with All That Is or what happens between us and other people in interactions large and small, visible and invisible, easy and difficult.

So how about it? What would it take for you to see the precious nature of receiving? More to the point, what could you start doing about that? Does it require a change of heart? Of identity? Of habit? Whatever it calls for, one thing is certain; for many of us, receiving can be far more difficult than giving will ever be.