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Christmas gives the gift of giving

December 21, 2016   ·   0 Comments

How many ways can a person give? As the poet said, let me count them.

A new jet is nice but how many mink coats and diamond rings can one lady wear? Young men tend to drive their new sports car way too fast and land in problems; trips are fun, first class around the everywhere, dodging the crowds.

Down the whole way through the labyrinth of society to all of us scrambling around the shops or making things – attending craft fairs – silent auctions. The important aspect of the gift search is the thought and time that go into finding something for that person specifically. Focussed in a way that might not always be the case; thinking kindly about a soul with whom one is not necessarily always kind – it is a great thing.

Furthermore, the privilege of giving is personal, no matter to whom, from whom, a stranger or a dear heart. No imagined sense of mere duty nor feinted indifference could possibly diminish the truth: giving comes from a positive place in our being.

A man in a wheelchair rolling along in the streets of Toronto is shouting and shouting, “Help me, please – someone.” A young woman stops him to ask what help he needs and he tells her: “I just want some lunch – someone to buy me lunch.”

So, she takes him to the nearest place for a decent and inexpensive lunch which he wolfs down, thanking her with tears in his eyes.

Without it being the motive, she has done herself a huge favour: the  few dollars she has just spent purchasing lunch for a man in a wheelchair not only nourished him- they made a person of him, a person who was important enough to another person that she fed him – an act of love, for sure.

For the young woman, she benefitted from the inevitable glow (not gloating, not boastful) of the backwash of the whole fine situation, however brief.

Scientists and psychologists reported recently on the health benefits of giving. In particular, they discussed the business of lunch giving.

It seems that we are better off spending a few dollars on lunch for someone worst off than we are. They receive your kindness and your health benefits from the gesture. In addition, you don’t necessarily need that lunch and the $5 won’t be missed much either.

Scientifically, we would all be in better health if we lived by the old adage: “you are your brother’s keeper.” Meaning we should look out for each other.

It is a pleasure to watch science catch up to ancient ideas and the obvious.

This is actually the Christmas spirit any and all the time.

We are so lucky to be allowed to give that it should a way of life. The mindset for that is a little foreign to our way of thinking, perhaps, particularly given our lifestyles and the pressures they present. So, thank goodness there is Christmas and we are all about it.

The thrill of pleasing others is so strong that being pleased oneself is quite secondary. Think how wonderful that is and we are sort-of pushed into it by Christmas. When funds are low, people often become creative and discover in themselves abilities they never thought of in their desire to please others.

Well, well, it is far from only the material gifts that mean so much. It is also to remember the people at a distance in our lives, not to leave the elderly to languish alone or be stuck in their institutions.  It is an effort given for the comfort of another; a consideration of helpfulness – the promise of further contact.

It is the human connection – from those wonderful hugs to a hand made treasure to a lunch at a time of hunger – this is Christmas.

The Child  whose birth we are celebrating, when He grew to manhood and His years of teaching, talked about gift giving all the time: if a person has two coats and knows another with none, then the person should give one those coats to the other.

He talked about caring for one another; about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

This could all be free of religion and be simply a logical way of life: taking care of one another to the benefit of all, scientifically proven to be the healthiest way of living.

By and large, we do not live that way.

So, hurray for Christmas – the healthiest time of year. A friend recently asked me if I like Christmas: I sure do.

And from this writer to all of you, all the joy and the wealth of this deeply caring holiday. May you be rich in it.

         

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