It is that awkward time of year again. How is it awkward? Inevitably, I receive an unexpected present. A present I had not anticipated and from someone for whom I did not buy a present. For me, that is always awkward. I always appreciate the sentiment, but tinged with guilt. Why did I not think to get that person a present? It is humbling, because I have received gifts from people that would have not been on my gift list radar. I have received gifts from people who I deemed mere acquaintances and wonder if I rank significantly higher on their friends list. I know that in most cases, they are not expecting something in return. It is really the joy of giving that motivates them. This is also the time of year that the TV and radio reiterate the "tip" list. You know, the list of people in service jobs who deserve a bonus this time of year. Your postal carrier, your dog walker, your hairdresser, your doorman, your handyman, your financial manager, etc., etc., etc. Has anybody noticed that this list seems to expand every year? Now, I'm not knocking this. I have benefited from such kindness. As a teacher, as a clinic receptionist, as a house cleaner, my employers were more than generous at Christmas time. But I never felt entitled to those bonuses. I never expected it. If I had the money to get every person who has performed a service for me this year a present, I would have nothing left to get the people who are really dear to me anything. Am I the only one that thinks this list is a little exaggerated? I mean, should I give every single person who works in a service capacity a gift for doing their job? Sorry, I don't feel obligated to do that. In the past several years, our newspaper delivery person and our postman have left Christmas cards with names and addresses in our mailbox. Hint, hint, so we know where to send a Christmas bonus. After Christmas had passed, and we did not tip these people, it seemed like a big coincidence that our newspaper, placed neatly on our porch previously, always ended up in a snow pile at the bottom of the steps. I'm not saying these people don't deserve something extra special at Christmas, but don't expect it. We are one of those families that simply cannot afford to give a gift to every person we meet. Maybe there are some that can, and that's fine. I think its great that service employees receive something extra special from some of their clientele, just don't begrudge those of us that can't.
So I kind of veered on a rabbit trail there, but the gift giving does tie into this passage today. King David is returning to Jerusalem, resuming his rightful place on the throne. As he journeys back, he encounters friends who stuck by him through this horrible mess, and foes who opposed him. The foes are particularly nervous because they are certain that David will execute judgement. But he doesn't. What? He is merciful. He ignores his advisers counsel to make examples of these traitors. However, he does not forget his friends. He is prepared to handsomely reward them. So nothing happens to the enemies, but great things happen to the loyalists. I'm wondering if David thought the best punishment for these folks, was to see the blessings they would miss for not serving him.
|Shimei Throws Stones at David--Taken from Treasures of the Bible (United Kingdom)|
By Henry Davenport Northrop D.D.
International Publishing Company, 1894