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 ♥