3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)
I had to give hug lessons this morning. I’ve given hug tips before, but this was more intense instruction with examples and non-examples of an acceptable hug.
The lessons were for Rylie. She’s ones of the world’s greatest huggers. Her and Hayden are both in the top three. I call them our “Space Invaders”.
Hallie, on the other hand, likes her space. She gives those diagonal hugs where you give the hugger two quick shoulder pats and then you stop patting, indicating you want the hug to be over. It reminds me of wrestling or boxing, whichever it is, where one guy is holding the other on the ground and the officiant slaps the ground ten times and then the wrestler (or boxer or whatever) releases the victim. Hallie’s the victim in a hug and it’s only two pats and then she wants the embrace to cease. I think I used to hug like that.
Rylie’s hugs are relentless. She will hug you ten times a day if you’ll let her. She’ll hug you if she doesn’t know you. And she doesn’t. let. go…
I can’t remember what sparked the demonstration this morning, but Rylie and I had the hug talk again. I usually tell her to “Hug and release.”. But this time I showed her something about hugs. There are huggers and huggees (not like the diaper, but the person who receives the hug). The hugger needs to be sensitive to the huggee. I reminded her to pay attention to the person she’s hugging. When they are no longer willingly receiving the hug. Let go. Be done. We practiced and she was off to a day of Christmas partying at school.
I hope she gives short and sweet hugs today. But I also hope that her hugs will be well-received too. (They’re not always.)
At Christmas time we seem to be all about giving, which is swell. But I have to mention, after having reflected on the morning’s lesson, that being on the receiving end is not only nice, but I do believe it’s part of the Christmas plan. For everybody. We get so caught up in being do-gooders that we forget to stop and receive Christmas.
We’re so frazzled from giving that we often forget to let the gift of Christmas swell in our hearts
like the beautiful Christmas cards that hang in my window
and the pecan pie from a church friend and banana nut bread from your neighbor
the memories of Christmas past -how your parents left one of your Christmas presents in the fireplace like it dropped from Santa’s sack
-and years later when your snaggletooth kid and his cousin read the Christmas story to all those gathered around in your mom and dad’s living room
Acknowledge the guy who stopped in the doorway at Walgreens so you could go first because he noticed you hustling and bustling.
Be thankful for what you receive even when it wasn’t what you expected (like the time at your Meme’s Christmas when you ate a bath oil bead because it was in one of the plastic tubes like the M&Ms come in and you thought it was candy). Someone spent time and thought on you, and or money. Spend time letting your heart not only be gracious, but be grateful.
Be humbled at how year after year we drive ourselves crazy trying to be a Christmas Saint and yet nothing we can do holds a candle to the birth of a baby in Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago. Short of the cross, that event will forever be un-toppable. I forget to REALLY think about that.
So go hug somebody. But be ready for what’s coming at you too.