A Season of Giving to Last All Year

Nan's Surprise Gift

  The Christmas season has  been described as a “Season of Giving,” and this giving often takes the form of gifts.  As we give presents to each other during the holidays, we are expressing love and appreciation for one another.  Sometimes, when we don’t have a lot of extra money to spend buying expensive gifts, we’ll say, “It’s the thought that counts.”  And that is true.  I was the surprised recipient of a gift, and while the gift itself was lovely, it was the thoughtfulness, the love, and the appreciation from this unexpected giver that made my day.

                Gift giving 2Why must we make our “Season of Giving” only last a few weeks out of the year?  What could happen if it ran year-round?  I know you’re thinking that the money available for gifts would run out fast, but what if we offered something that didn’t necessarily cost us money?  As I discovered with my surprise gift, I was more touched by the thought and intention of the gift than the actual, tangible gift.  I think that is true of almost all of us.

My new challenge (and you can make it yours, too, if you wish) is to try to give something to every person who comes across my path in my very ordinary life.  This means that I can offer a kind word or a word of encouragement to the stressed-out sales clerk, or it may take the form of a silent prayer when I see a mother yelling in the grocery store at her misbehaving children.  It means that I will try to say “yes” to requests for my assistance whenever I can and try to limit my “no’s.” It also might mean that I give the gift of not saying anything at all when I would love to argue.  I can offer some loose change, if I have some, when someone in front of me in line at the store runs short.  When my vegetable garden overflows with produce next summer (this might be a fantasy), I can share my bounty with others.  I have something to offer everyone I encounter, and so do you.

While the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit certainly have not been skimpy with the gifts they’ve given us (just look at all the wonderful treats and treasures we enjoy, andGift giving the everyday comforts we take for granted), I would say that the best gift they’ve given is the gift of presence, and a willingness to be with us in our frailness and fallibility.  This presence even took on flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us.  As we mindfully reflect on the Incarnation at this time of year, with all the wonder of its implications for humanity, we can know that the best gift we have to offer others is our presence and our willingness to give, in a myriad of ways, to all.  By challenging ourselves to think what we might bring to any person or situation, we funnel the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit through our efforts, and make the Season of Giving last all year.

                ~by Nan Kuhlman  

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