The Joy of Giving

The Joy of Giving

One of my absolute favorite things to do this time of year is brave the snow to the comfort of a coffee or cozy sandwich venue and reflect over a steaming cup of anything. My most reoccurring reflection in December: Past Christmases.

From the aroma of the freshly cut pine to the wide insta-smile the moment I’d walk into my grandparents home eyeing the massive heap of presents; each memory is still filled with glee and excitement.

When I was young, all I would dream of was what I could get. Now, it’s a dream as to how much I can give.

I believe God has given us the gift of wisdom to allow the transition to happen naturally, but I think we can also give thanks for those He placed in our lives who were instrumental in demonstration. For me, that person was my grandmother Fran.  True heart-filled giving to her was broken down into three rules:

  1. It’s not about you: What someone truly values and will trigger a real emotional response. A diamond from a kneeling suitor is precious to a bride-to-be because it completes a dream. A ninja turtle shell to a child who attempts karate kicks off the couch can tap into that same euphoria. Each person we are thankful for give us ample opportunities if we genuinely listen and spend quality time.

  2. You don’t have to look for it: This time of year, many people look for volunteer work at shelters or food shelves. These are all great ideas, but there are also things you can do by simply interacting with others. A kind word of thanks to your mail carrier, chocolates left on the bed for your nurses from inpatient hospital care or simply stopping by a co-workers desk with a surprise coffee refill are just a few of the endless acts we can do every day.

  3. Share more feelings: Instead of thinking of “things” and how much to reciprocate, try hand-writing a letter sharing what you love about a neighbor. Bake a friend their favorite dessert and randomly drop it off. Even a kind word shared to your grocery cashier as you check out will lighten your very being the moment you let the words go.

My grandmother was always quick to give with a cup of Nestle hot chocolate as she sat and listened to my day or the random placement of a $5 bill in my pocket, but she also hugged me tight and genuinely said she loved me many times especially when it wasn’t expected. I will always miss her, but will forever be thankful for her gifts and giving example in my life.

Mike Inveen, Student Ministries