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We all receive many gifts everyday, but how often do we give the gracious response that transcends the traditional “Thank you”? There is a pleasure in giving a gift or a service to another person, especially so if it is someone whom you care for, and most of the time that pleasure is the biggest reward. The pleasure is instantly felt, and there is a realization that something of importance and of value has been given, so there is much of the usual gift transaction that is totally internal and meaningful.

Receiving a gift is a bit of a problem for the recipient, because there is rarely an opportunity to give something of similar value back in the moment. And, in addition, instantly returning something of value makes the original gift not a gift given in love, but more of an economic transaction, and that is not what is intended by the gift.

Thus the gracious receiving of a gift must become a heartfelt acknowledgement of the other person’s offering of affection and love. The gift is just a physical manifestation of that love. The difficulty is how to acknowledge and convey that feeling in return. What is the best form of graciousness in that moment of receiving?

To be gracious the comments must be mild, appreciative and specific to the event in progress, and they must recognize the event as more meaningful than just the simple action being performed. The return comment must be given with a feeling of affection and love.

Gracious receiving of a gift is the greatest gift of all.