The frenzy of activity that marks the month of December is unmatched. End of year parties and activities, gift buying, and holiday shopping can rapidly merge into an experience which is taxing and depleting emotionally, physically and financially. In our desire to give materially, we are unaware of the toll that we unconsciously exact on our spirits and our bodies.
The truth is that wholesome giving cannot be primarily defined as a material activity although it may manifest in a physical material form such as money or gifts. In its highest context, giving is a spiritual activity which can manifest in any number of forms for the intended recipient
A higher level of giving is demonstrated by being intentional and paradoxically grateful. Gratitude is a characteristic which we often associate solely with the recipient of a gift and not with the donor. But, I would suggest that intentional giving starts not simply with being thankful, but being humbly grateful. Focusing on the privilege of being able to give changes the platform.
Giving as a Blessing…
To give is to be truly blessed. To truly give to anothers’ need or bliss requires that I focus my attention and intention on being grateful for the opportunity to bless another, to essentially empower another. It also requires a humble gratitude for the gift of their presence in my life. Thereby changing the equation for the “potential giver” from an elevated position to a recipient of grace.
Giving of this quality transforms the nature of what is given. All material forms have a predecessor in the unseen realm. The Celebration of the Birth of Jesus at this time of year was a gift that was prophesied centuries before he arrived as a minute embryonic cell in Mary’s womb and eventually manifested as a baby born to rule, but lying in the extremely modest environment of the manger.
The intention of this gift was clearly the love of God for humankind. The transformation afforded through the gift of Jesus Christ literally redeems life and provides reconnection to God through acceptance of His gift of life.
Now that is radical, the Giver of life being so full of humility and love that He would humble himself to take on a physical body with all its weakness to ensure that through His death, we could live. This is the spiritual nature and meaning of Christmas.
Giving of ones self is the highest form of giving particularly when it is done to enable the highest good of another. The grace of this type of giving transforms a simple cup of cold water to the least amongst us to a gift which resounds in the heavens and impacts life far beyond the limited dimension of what we can readily see, measure or understand
*A version of the blog post was first published on my Active Rain blog in 2006. It remains one of my favorite posts and a yearly reminder to me of what giving is all about. Blessings to you this holiday season.