a pause in Advent - 'the rule of reciprocity'

I'm joining Floss from 'Troc, Broc and Recup' again this year, as a collective of bloggers, who are posting each Sunday or Monday, about what they find meaningful at this time of year leading up to Christmas.  Just click on the side bar on this blog, and look for this 'a pause in Advent' logo, to find the others participating.

Whilst my intention isn't to be super freaky religious, (and scare you all away!), but if I'm to think about this seriously at all, I am going to reflect personally on those things I 'do' and 'believe' at Christmas time.  Stuff that challenges my very status quo.
My first post is simply an extract of a devotional written by the late Selwyn Hughes ~~ and it's all about giving.

'If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?' - Matthew 5:46

'The general view of love is that it involves reciprocity.  In every part of the world, and in every culture, this is an unspoken rule of social life.  If I buy you a coffee this obligates you to say 'thank you' and perhaps, at some time in the future, to buy me one.
The rule is this:  we should appreciate things done for us and return people's favours.  People are considered rude when they break the unwritten rule of reciprocity.  Gifts need to be of a similar value.  Giving a cheap gift to someone when he or she has given us an expensive one makes us feel uncomfortable.  Forgetting to send a Christmas card to a person who has sent us one, and finding it is too late to make the exchange, can dampen the delights of Christmas.  Some are not beyond manipulating relationships for personal gain by deliberately building up a sense of indebtedness in others.  If we want a favour from someone we take that person out to lunch, thus putting them in a position where turning us down might make them feel awkward.'
In the verse above in blue, 'Jesus cuts through this social norm and shows that agape love stretches far beyond the rule of reciprocity.  Agape love is not returning smile for smile, or favour for favour.
The Samaritan didn't play by the rule of reciprocity when he got off his donkey to help the injured traveller.  He far exceeded it .  The law of 'tit for tat' - of measure for measure - is out:  the new law of excess is in. The old law has been overtaken - by agape.'

Hope you have a great week ♥


  1. Lovely "pauseful" thoughts Luisa. It's a funny one that unwritten rule thing. Yay let's go all out for the law of excess! : ) Have a great week. Much love Catherine

  2. Law of excess - I love it! Your post walks hand-in-hand with the one written by Betty (Mrs Yappy Dog), in my opinion. You and she are talking about different sides of the same thing, and I've found it really helpful to read both. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for this brilliant quote and tieing it in with the scripture too. What about the Golden Rule of doing to others what we want them to do to us. Do parents really want their children to lie to them about serious matters? Do they want their children to learn to hide wrong doings under the guise of "I did it because it made you feel good and anyway everyone else was doing it too"? I am sure they don't. I have sufferes all my life, either because I did not believe the lie - of Santa and that December 25 is Jesus birthday - as a child or because I did not teach it to my children as a parent. Even to call Christmas a "Christian" festival is not true, as many newspaper articles at this time of the year will testify to. It is all rooted in pagan beliefs and festivals. The only thing true is that Jesus was born in a manger. However, by the time the wise men (who said there were three? Not the Bible.) reached the little family they were already living in a house of some sort and Herod had all children up to the age of two killed indicating that the child was no longer a newborn babe. The very star that lead these magic men or astrologers ( a profession that would get an Israelite put to death for practicing) was not God's way of alerting the world to His sons birth as He had already done that through the angels. The star was there to lead the men to Herod in Jerusalem first and then on to Jesus so as to get him killed. And that same star is put at the top of every Christmas tree as if it were a thing to celebrate. So many lies. So very sad. Cherrie

  4. Awesome reminder - and perfect for A Pause in Advent. Thank you :)

  5. Hi Luisa,
    Joining with you for the First Pause in Advent.
    I enjoyed your post very much as I too believe that we should treat others as we wish ourselves to be treated.
    However, my cynical husband reminds me often that to expect this from friends and family (I hasten to add that he is the exception to the rule) sometimes leads to sadness and disappointment.

  6. I truly love reading every pause in advent, thank you ever so much


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