When it comes to love languages, “Receiving Gifts” is no where near the top of the ways I feel most loved. In fact, it almost always ranks at the very, very, very bottom. Some people like to be showered in gifts, lavish, homemade, you name it, and they’ll happily receive those gifts. I am not one of those people. In all honesty, receiving gifts is so low on my radar of feeling loved that they actually have the potential to make me very uncomfortable. How am I to reciprocate? What does this person expect this gift to mean? How much did this cost?! Just because I don’t usually like gifts doesn’t mean that they are all bad.
Recently a few of my friends have taken trips overseas for various amounts of time. Before each one of them departed I had this deep desire to give them some kind of a gift, no matter how small. Heck, one gift wasn’t even enough, I practically wanted to stuff their suitcases with letters and trinkets and things for them to take with them from me. Why? Because I want them to remember me. The same was true of each of them. We exchanged gifts before they left, little things mostly. Some may even say that if you didn’t know the story behind the gifts then they would have no meaning at all. My friends wanted to leave me with something for the exact same reason I wanted to give them something: because they want me to remember them.
Did I really think my friends would just forget about me because an ocean separated us? Of course not. Did my friends really think I’d forget about them just because I wasn’t seeing them as often? Again, of course not. We knew we’d remember each other despite our time apart, and yet the gifts we gave each other serve as a tangible remind of the other. The gifts serve as something to hold on to when the miles seem so vast. The gifts we get and the gifts we give keep our hearts close even when we are far away from each other. Then I thought to myself,
Isn’t that how it is with the Eucharist?
Did Jesus really think we’d forget about Him just because He was ascending to the Father? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think He thought that His disciples would forget about Him, but He wanted to give us a gift that could never be forgotten, one we could cling to so that we could remember Him in our time apart. He wanted to give us a tangible reminder of His unending love for us, something to hold on to when the distance between here and Heaven seems so vast. The gift He gives us in His Body and Blood keep our hearts close together even when we are far away from each other. He gives us the Eucharist for always, including those times when we feel He is far away, and when we feel far away from Him. The Eucharist reminds us that not only is He close by, He is within us, His blood runs in our veins, and our heart burns with His grace. Why does He give us this gift? Because He wants us to remember Him.
“This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” – 1 Corinthians 11:24-25
Even though I may not be a person who loves gifts, I’m forever grateful for His gift. I’m grateful for the gifts from my friends, too. Each in their own way serve as a reminder of someone who, though far away, is as close to me as the air I breath and the gifts I hold so dear.