Saturday, December 27, 2008

joy of giving ...

"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."- Matthew 2:10-11

A gift is something freely given.
A gift is not an obligation, a requirement that must be fulfilled.

Isn't Christmas an exciting time? I love all the sparkle and glow everywhere, the energy that grows as we get closer and closer. For me, the most exiting and fun part is picking out gifts!

I get a little giddily excited when I'm in "shopping mode," trying to pick out that something special that each person will enjoy. Each gift is carefully chosen, whether it's clothing ... electronics ... or a gift card (selecting one that you're certain the giftee will appreciate and can actually use). I imagine how the giftee will like the gift chosen for them alone (in my fantasies, I've always chosen a great gift - lol!) ... the smile of anticipation crossing a face ... the lift of the eyebrows as he or she opens and sees the gift.

It's a double whammy on the fun scale: first is the fun in picking out the gift, and second is the fun in seeing the happy reactions. There is no expectation for the other person to reciprocate; that would take all the fun out of the giving for me. If they want to give a gift, then give it, freely and from the heart. But no expectations. If it's merely an exchange, then it's not really a gift. There is a special grace in giving.

A favorite Christmas memory: When we were kids, I remember my brother "S" shopping for gifts bought with his own money. I still remember that he gave me a PeeChee; I was delighted! PeeChees were the perfect school folder and I loved drawing all over them. He gave photo corners to Mom, a thoughtful gift since she put together the family albums. There is a special grace in giving.
My granddaughters were here on Christmas Eve and saw their wrapped presents, including one in the shape of the Wildcard cell phone that the oldest had asked for. So we started joking around that it was really a box of rocks, not a cell phone. Grinning slyly, "J" started naming all the great uses for rocks - playing catch, building things, catching a purse snatcher - and how happy she'd be to get some rocks for Christmas. On Christmas morning, she was grinning ear to ear on opening the box and seeing the phone; even though she already knew what the gift was, it still gave her great joy to open it up and it gave me great joy to see how happy she was! (She has asked for rocks, though, for her coming birthday - LOL!) There is a special grace in giving.
At my daughter's house on Christmas morning, my youngest granddaughter rushed to hand me the gift that she'd gotten for me, her face wearing an utterly endearing ear-to-ear grin as she waited eagerly for me to open her gift: a beautiful pair of red sparkly earrings (which I wore today when friends came over). There is a special grace in giving and in receiving.
I love to receive gifts, as well as give them. It brightens my heart to know that someone else thought about me, and maybe had some joy in picking out a special something with me alone in mind. A yoga teacher of mine often said "Receive what you have been given." Profound words that cover so much of life. Receiving a gift is not just a passive act. "Receive" is a verb, an action. To truly receive a gift requires an action, an act of acceptance with an open, thankful heart. Appreciation honors the gifter and shows respect for the effort and thoughtfulness that was put into selecting the gift. There is a special grace in receiving.
Remember how we'd all go back to school after Christmas break, asking our friends "what'd you get for Christmas?" And the enjoyment would all flow back again as we shared our favorite gifts, or heard about the great gifts our good friends got. Why don't we do that as grown-ups? I always thought that was such fun! There is a special grace in giving and receiving.
Here's a little gift picked out especially for you: a song I heard on the local radio station, playing Christmas music all season long: Faith Hill's "A Baby Changes Everything"
So ... what'd you get for Christmas?


Amber said...

Merry Christmas, Rose! I'll bet your family loves spending the holiday with you and your wonderful, loving, generous perspective!

I got a new camera for Christmas! My Santa Baby spoiled me this year.

Connie said...

I had fun making roll out cookies with my DD and than "icing" them later. I enjoyed using her "red" measuring cups/spoons/spatula and was kidding her how happy the color was and how it made me feel to use them. I went to her house for Christmas Eve Dinner and the door bell rang. The UPS man delivered a late package. She said Merry Christmas Mom and inside was a duplicate of the red cups/spoons and a red spatula. I was so happy that she had bought them for me. It will always remind me of that special time spent together.

Each year that I age, everything takes on a special meaning for me. All of a sudden, time has become a precious thing.