When I walked into the local Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving, the store was playing,
“It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's the hap-happiest season of all…”
After some shopping, I got back in the car and turned on Christmas music for the drive back home. Subconsciously, my mind had shifted to the holiday mood. This temperament lasts until Christmas is over. It is not a unique feeling just for me, rather a sentiment shared by millions of people in the U.S and around the world during this time. The psychological shift happens every year, like clockwork.
Yes, we know Christmas is coming. Whether anyone likes to admit it or not, Christmas is the hallmark celebration of the season. The spirit of the holiday conjures up a magical spell of joy and excitement in many. The attitude becomes contagious and permeates to a herd mentality! We begin to acknowledge even the smallest deed. I told a stranger, “Merry Christmas.” He replied, “I don’t even celebrate Christmas, but I will take it,” with a big smile on his face and then bowed his head. I smiled back at him, and nodded my head.
The highpoint of the season is of course Christmas day. On Christmas day, something magical happens. The gift giving. Families will sit around the Christmas tree and open the presents. You (pretend) you're surprised. (Spoiler alert - all along, you knew what it was). Soon after, the season will lose its luster. The hype is gone.
The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He was The Gift from God; Himself in the human form. That gift was a complete surprise! It was the gift that solidified a relationship between God and humans. It was an act of great love and brought us healing.
The history books say that the tradition of gift giving at Christmas is a reflection of the gifts given to infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men. To me, gift giving is more of a symbolic act of God’s gift.
Over the years, the spiritual holy day has become the season’s extravaganza. Regrettably, the commercialization of the act itself has shed a negative light on gift giving.
Yet the significance of giving gifts remains paramount. The act of giving builds and enhance relationships.
Giving shows you care.
Giving expresses thoughtfulness and affection.
Giving brings joy.
Giving uplifts and heals people.
Giving creates long lasting memories.
Giving confirms our personal values.
Giving helps us to find ourselves.
There is nothing wrong with giving fancy gifts to our loved ones on Christmas day. It is a tradition and it comes from the heart. I sincerely believe the tradition must continue.
However, we must remember the reason for giving on Christmas day. Amidst giving gifts to loved ones, can we use this time to give gifts to fill voids as well? The gift from God was to fill a void. Are we capable of emulating God’s act?
Yes, we are!
There are many people out there, out of our sight, who are having difficulties from putting meals on the table, parents who are unable to provide for their children, isolated children and adults, as well as elderly in nursing homes at this time of the year. All of them are well aware of the festivities that are going on around them. This makes them feel down, hopeless and sad.
We, as people with means can make a difference and fill their void. We can help them financially, with food, with our time - visiting elderly in nursing homes for some companionship, volunteering at a soup kitchen to feed the hungry or homeless, an animal welfare center, a women’s center, a children center…or simply ask, what we can do to help.
Maybe some just needs a shoulder to cry on or some good advice. They just want someone to be there for them!
If you are not aware of who needs help, you can find [reputable] local charities in our community that do know. We can fill the void (make a miracle happen) through the local charities. Through these organizations, our time, money, food, and other items are distributed to the families in need. Indirectly, we make these people, these families, feel special.
We make them feel happier and fulfilled.
We restore their faith in humanity.
We uplift them.
We empower them.
We make them feel that they are not alone.
Aristotle said, "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom."
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.”, said Lao Tzu.
The act of giving allows you the opportunity to discover yourself.
Spread the act of giving by encouraging children and friends to participate in the act of giving. It enhances and nurtures their attitude so that they can make a positive change in the world. Giving will inspire friends and family to follow your lead. A single act of giving will become many and thereby producing an exponential effect. Joy from giving, knowing that we have bettered someone’s life, is a spiritual reward that is far more valuable than any tangible gift we will ever receive.
There is another God like gift you may be capable of. I’m glad you asked what is it?
The gift of life, through Whole Blood, Platelets or Plasma donation!
Every 2 seconds someone somewhere needs a blood product. Only a human blood donation can help these save lives. Human blood can’t be manufactured or replicated. There is no substitute for human blood. Do you know that a single cancer patient may need over 100 units of platelets throughout their treatment? Medical conditions and emergencies don't stop for the holidays. One donation can save as many as three lives, according to American Red Cross. Blood transfusions are the lifelines. Donating blood is a divine act. Just ask anyone who has received a blood transfusion. When you donate Whole Blood, Platelets or Plasma, you give healing and hope to those who face life and death challenges, including their loved ones.
Once we find the joy of making others happy, giving becomes a recurring act; Then it turns into a habit. In giving, we will find peace within ourselves. In Giving, we will find the riches in us. In Giving, you we will reap gratitude for life.
As Anne Frank said; “No one has ever become poor by giving. Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First, we make our choices. Then our choices make us."
“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” - Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart