What Shall I Give?
By Laura D. Field ~ Dec. 24, 2015 ~ Reflective Tapestry of Life
Whether it’s my age, or simply that I do not care about the hustle and bustle of our modern day Christmas, I find that gift giving has become over-rated. What happened to the “heart of Christmas”? The joy in giving to someone we love or to one without? In some ways, have we become modern day Scrooges?
When I was a young girl, there was very little under the Christmas tree as our gifts were simple, but there is one Christmas that I fondly remember. It was the year that we spent with our grandparents in Missouri. My Granny always had her spare room/sewing room set up just for me when I visited. It was simple yet sweet and made me feel special. This particular Christmas was the first time, I believe the only time, I spent Christmas at their home.
There was magic in the air. I felt safe, loved and nurtured. And as the hour rang past mid-night, while wide-awake in my room, I could hear commotion coming from the living room. By 1:00 am, the door opened with my Granny standing at the door, asking me if I would like to see what Santa brought. Of course, with utter excitement, I immediately got out of bed to join my brothers in the opening of gifts.
The one gift, the only gift, that I remember receiving that year was a box of doll clothing for my Barbie’s that my Granny spent countless hours knitting, crocheting and sewing for me. As I went through the many outfits, I was mesmerized by the most beautiful and delicate handwork that went into making this very special gift for me. There were other gifts from Santa as well, but this one memory remains a treasured moment for me, as it was a gift of love that was shared with me that will never leave the inner part of my heart. It was a gift that represented the heart of my grandmother.
The other gift my Granny provided throughout the many years is that of “how” to give. It is not a skill that is only shared at Christmas but rather something that we develop within us as something that grows within our hearts. We give from our hearts and always share our ability to give quality.
In addition, I appreciate what she taught me about our natural gifts we are given in life. Like my grandmother, I have the gift to create with needle and thread, and most recently with hook and yarn, as well as gifts from the kitchen. As we learn, we find frustration in developing the skill(s) as those first few projects rarely come out perfect. With attention to the details and making adjustments to the mistakes, our skills are perfected. Once this is learned, we discover we have more to give than the cost of materials.
When I met my husband, and began dating him in my junior year of high school, I became a part of his family. Christmas was different. It was filled with magic and thoughtful gifts that actually overwhelmed me. I was not used to the abundance of love showered on me through the wrappings of boxes and stockings. I was humbled by the thoughtfulness of each gift.
My first Christmas with his family was humbling to say the least, but more so in the fact that the fudge I made him was a disaster! Seriously!! That stuff would not harden even after freezing it! Yes, I laugh now, as it was a lesson in love, a lesson in humility, and a lesson that not all disasters are horrible. Not just on my end, but also in how my future husband responded. He was overly delighted in my thoughtfulness in that fudge being one of his favorite candies, yet never gave it a thought that it was not a solid mass of delightful chocolate. He instead grabbed a spoon from the silverware drawer and began enjoying it with a spoon.
What I experienced with my grandparents, and on that first Christmas with my future husband, was that Christmas was not just about the act of exchanging gifts, but rather what we put into the gift we give to others. In addition, my faith is the example in which I am to give. God gave His ONLY son for me! He gave LOVE! He gave perfection. I do not give because I am “expected” to give, but rather because my heart is drawn to giving without expectation in return, and the gift of giving is not reserved only at Christmas.
I’m not saying that filling a child’s Christmas with magic is wrong, as I have done that myself, and I love seeing the sparkle of amazement in the eyes of a child. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, nor a lot of time in our crafty corners. All it needs to be is a part of our heart in giving.
So, that modern day Scrooge I mentioned earlier? It is not about the millionaire hoarding his resources, but rather the one who either holds back due to the judgment of another’s unworthiness or claims bragging rights as to all the good they are doing for others, while at the same time neglecting a family member, the neighbor down the street who is lonely or ill, or a mourning widow, mom or dad. It is not about using a season of giving as the only time they give, forgetting the needs of others throughout the year.
I think one of the stories from the Bible that resonates for me, is that of the poor widow’s offering (Luke 21:1-4)
“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
Despite her lack of wealth, she gave all she had from a grateful and loving heart. Sure this story is not about the birth of Christ and the salvation story, but it is still about one of the gifts of why God gave His only son. Jesus was given to us, not just for our salvation, but more importantly to teach us humility, generosity, compassion and love.
What shall I give? Do I give to everyone I know? As personal a choice this is, gift giving is not an obligation, but rather a sign of love and respect which has no price tag associated with it. Although I love giving gifts, I do not give to everyone I know. I give from where my heart leads, with a connective thought of the recipient and what I know about them, in order to give them something that they would really appreciate and/or enjoy.
May your Christmas be a treasured moment allowing you to reflect on the gifts you have been blessed. And as you reflect, may you share your love, time and talents with others in a way that will reflect the blessing of who you are.
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer