It did not happen like this:
Joseph: Mary, the wise men are on their way, and they’re all carrying something.
Mary: Carrying something? What could that be?
Joseph: I’m not sure, but one of them has something shiny. I think it’s gold.
Mary: Gold! Oh, no! But I didn’t get anything for them. Do we have something under the manger we can wrap up quickly?
You know the scenario: Someone you don’t usually exchange gifts with appears before you with a brightly wrapped Christmas gift. She beams with joy, because she has found the perfect thing. She saw it, thought of you and knew that you had to have it.
Do you receive the gift with unqualified gratitude? Or do you think, “Oh, no! I don’t have anything for her”?
We don’t know what exactly happened that first Christmas, but I like to I imagine that, if gifts were brought to the new baby, Mary and Joseph received everything with grace and gratitude. To do otherwise would have deprived the wise visitors of the joy of giving.
This Christmas, when someone beams with joy as they present you that perfect something bought out of love, receive it with unqualified joy and gratitude.
The joy of giving doesn’t depend on the joy of receiving.