“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ~ Mother Teresa
I’m sure you know how it feels to get a gift from someone, right? But do you know how it feels to give a gift? There’s a certain kind of power with gift giving. It’s a power that goes beyond a material price tag. I don’t necessarily mean giving some big expensive gift. Giving small yet thoughtful gifts, our time, a warm smile with a “Hello” or lending an ear are also wonderful gifts to give too.
So what do I mean by the power of giving? I’m talking about the effect of giving something to another person. When we give of ourselves, not only does that person feels good, but we feel good on the inside too. There’s something else that happens when we give another person a gift. We raise that person’s spirits up and sometimes that person turns around and gives another person a gift. Sometimes that person does the same and so on.
To understand this power better, think of tossing a stone into a very calm body of water. When we do this, the water ripples outward affecting all of the water surrounding it. Allow me to tell you about a segment I saw on the news the other day.
A number of years ago, 16 years to be precise, a man who helped other people found himself in need of help. The day was September 11, 2001 – the day of America’s worst terrorist attack. The man was a fireman who blindly ran to the South Tower to give the gift of life to any stranger he could. Before he could even make it inside, the South Tower collapsed and reportedly blew him over a block away from where the building stood. He was rescued and given the gift of life. Since then he has recovered.
Somehow this fireman in New York City connected with a woman 2,500 miles away in Los Angeles who needed a kidney. Fourteen friends and family members volunteered to donate their kidneys, but none of them were a match. One day this woman got a phone call from a program she was in that allows living donors to provide organs to anonymous recipients. The fireman gave the gift of life to this woman and in turn the woman’s niece donated one of her kidneys to someone.
When Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, we hear those jingle bells and see red kettles at various stores. If we happen to have some spare money, we put it in the kettle. Maybe we donate our clothes or some food to a local charity. However, there are couple things I think we forget. We forget that charities need more than money and donations. They need help to serve the population they serve. For example, soup kitchens need help with cooking and serving the food, etc.
The other thing we forget is that there people in need all year round – not only at Christmas. Just because we throw a little food, clothing or money, to folks in need at Christmas doesn’t mean that tomorrow, next week, or next month they won’t be in need of help. People can fall on hard times any time of the year.
So how do I know all this? Because I’ve fallen on hard times in the spring, summer, fall and winter. I’ve also been blessed when I’ve given to others. No, I can’t give money or anything like that but I loan an ear or a shoulder. I share experience, strength and hope that was shared with me. Occasionally I share an extra blanket, coat or cup of coffee. The gift I get in return? Seeing the sparkle return to the other person’s eyes.
Thought for the day: It’s always nice to receive gifts, but the real blessing is when we give someone else a gift – no matter how small or insignificant we think it is.
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