The Worst Gift Ever

By Anthony Gold

When I was a young boy, all I wanted for Christmas was a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer.  My family did not have nearly enough money for a computer, but my selfishness paid no attention to details like that and expectantly hoped to see such a glorious machine wrapped under the tree.

There was no computer.  Instead, there were clothes.

I wasn’t happy.  I likely was a model of petulance.

That’s the nature of gifts.  There is a giver, and there is a receiver.  The giver clearly sees the value in what she has carefully selected, wrapped, and presented.  The receiver, from a different perspective, considers the value to himself, and perhaps – if he’s sufficiently considerate – the generosity of the giver.

And when there is a disconnect between those two perspectives, particularly where selfishness reigns supreme, then discontent often follows.

But sometimes the self-regard is on the part of the gift-giver.

There’s an old Zen saying that goes like this: If someone offers you a gift but you don’t accept it, to whom does the gift belong?

Of course, the gift still belongs to the “giver”.

Yet, how often do we accept the “gifts” of anger, insults, criticism, and attack from other people?  Here’s a hint: every time we use a phrase like “he made me …” or “she made me …” or “that made me …”

There are plenty of people offering us these “gifts”, day-in and day-out.  The giver has carefully selected them especially for us, wrapped them in a way they feel is uniquely suited for us, and delivered right into our hands (or eyes or ears).

And for some reason, like a ringing phone, we feel obliged to accept them.  And then, those “gifts” now belong to us.  We are the proud owners of these “prizes”.  Worse, like a sick game of white elephant, we attempt to re-gift them to others – oftentimes the original gift giver.

Every defense operates by giving gifts, and the gift is always a miniature of the thought system the defense protects (T-17.IV.7)

And so it is that we often accept gifts we shouldn’t and reject those that are joyfully selected for us.

Instead of accepting the gifts of attack, criticism, neglect, and the like – we can choose instead to remain in peace and not allow those attacks to affect us.  An attack with no victim is no attack at all.

And instead of rejecting the true gifts of peace and joy, we can open ourselves to those extensions of love.

The Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight. This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you.  Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. (W-pI.75.7; T-15.XI.3)

From such a state, all gifts – even the worst gifts ever – are transformed into the most precious presents.

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