Everybody has heard “it.” Some even use it as a motto. But saying it and believing it are not quite enough. Have you had the experience of it for yourself?
The “It” I’m talking about is found in the old saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
What does it really feel like to be blessed by giving? Is it the smile you get and the automatic, “Thanks, it’s just what I wanted,” that gives you a momentary glow? Is it knowing you did or gave something of value that helped somebody else feel good?
As we get our Christmas and Holiday gift-giving season into high gear with last minute shopping, and card-sending, and e-card zipping, I suggest that those customary, traditional things are never quite enough to experience the real spirit and blessing of giving a gift.
Maya Angelou, the late and beloved Poet Laureate of the United States, said it like this: “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
Have you ever really felt your soul liberated by what you give? That’s actually a hard one to answer.
That blessing almost never comes from giving a gift of something good, valuable, desirable, or ever-so-carefully gift-wrapped with a shiny bow.
In giving the best gift, it actually becomes hard to tell the difference between the giver and the recipient. At its best, each one is enriched by the gift.
The best gift is the giver themselves. When one of my sons, for example, graduated from university, it was at a time when I had very little to wrap as a graduation present. Funds were tight and I came up short in the gift-giving department.
So, naturally, I went to my attic. Up there I found some of his oldest toys, a hand-made, first-grade Mother’s Day card he had put his best effort into, and a few other mementos nobody had seen in years. I wrapped them up. His gift was to open each one and tell all his guests, friends, and family assembled for the party the whole story behind it.
An hour later, not a dry eye in the room, he and I had shared some of our family’s most cherished moments and brought back to life a few people, times, and places that deserved to be remembered. All it cost me was a little wrapping paper and sticky tape, but the real gift was us to each other and to the people we loved.
Will the Christmas gifts you give this year do that? Probably not unless you are in them in a way that makes you the gift. No amount of money or frantic “Santa’s wish-list” filling is likely do that.
This week, your Jamestown Gazette brings you stories—far too few to tell it all—of the people in our community who have put themselves into gifts that truly give and receive a blessing.
It seems that people really do want to give, to contribute, to one another’s wellbeing. I think it is built into our nature to that. But if you want to read about it for yourself, go to the source document and look it up. It is in a book about the acts of a few people who knew it well (Acts 20:35).
The message of the season is that the costliest gift might cost you nothing to give, except yourself.
Enjoy the read.