Advent Devotion 8

Two Sides of the Same Cloth

By Kevin Corlett


John 3:16   For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Child, so that everyone who believes in that Child may not perish but may have eternal life.


Matthew 2:11  … and when they had opened their treasures, they presented the child gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


On Friday nights when I was twelve, I would watch the television show, Kung Fu.  I found the teachings of the Shaolin masters to be interesting and, sometimes, applicable to parts of my life.  I was attracted to Caine’s pursuit of peace and his desire to follow this path.  Each week, he would help those he met on his journey.  Recently, I discovered that the show is back on cable TV at two in the morning.  In the early hours one morning, I watched an episode that focused on serving others and being served by them.  After teaching young Caine about service through the example of serving Caine and being served by Caine, the master wrapped the lesson up with this statement: “Serving and being served are two folds on the same cloth.”

I confess I always seemed to get the message about serving; however, I have often had difficulty being served by others.  The message I received from my parents was to not depend on others, to rely solely on myself in order to avoid being let down or manipulated.  I am still trying to unlearn that message.  When I saw this Kung Fu episode, I started to think about who exemplifies both sides of service and thought about Jesus. 

Christ provides the full example of service throughout his life.  As an infant, just as when we were infants, he needed nurturance.  The story of the magi is a clear example of persons gifting Jesus.  Later, as he moved closer and closer to the cross, he allowed his disciples to serve him.  Mary’s extravagance in washing his feet is only one instance.  Giving and receiving are important elements of this and all seasons. I realize if I do not allow or ask for help, I am denying the very joy to others that I feel when I am of service. 


Most Holy Jesus, In this season as we celebrate your birth, let us remember you came as servant to a world in need.  May we claim the truth in knowing that serving and being served are two folds of the same cloth.  Amen.