It’s Christmas Eve and silence has descended. A time to reflect on the meaning of this sacred time of year for many religions. There is a great emphasis on gifts, and as I’ve grown older I’ve put more emphasis on giving meaningful gifts. For me it’s the major event of the year where I can thank all the people I appreciate in my life. At this time of year and with that thought in mind, I hope people will realize that those like me who give out of love and appreciation this time of year, do not expect reciprocity. If you want to give me a give because you appreciate me in some way, then by all means; however, just because I give you a gift doesn’t mean you must run out and find something to give me in return. There should be joy in the giving of gifts, not stress. Some people may not have the means to return the gift, and that is perfectly acceptable. It’s called the season of giving, not the season of receiving.
One interesting thing about gifts is that the smallest and most unexpected ones can be the most touching and meaningful. These are the gifts we remember long after the others are gone.
There is a decoration I like to bring out this time of year; something so small and so simple that it could be easily overlooked. It is a gift that touched my heart when I received it and still does so today. If I had to give up every Christmas decoration I owned, save one, this would be the one I would keep.
Inspired by an adopt-a-family program at one of my former employers I instituted a similar program in my department at another company. This is an excellent way to help those in need and I’ve always found the majority of my co-workers to be kind and generous in helping to provide a special holiday for a deserving family.
It’s not always easy for people to ask for assistance and you can hear the embarrassment in their voices when you call to gather their family’s wish list. Nearly all swallow their pride for the sake of their children. Like most parents, they want their children to have a happy holiday, despite the every day hardships. It was from one such family that I received the decoration that I hold most dear and represents the true giving nature of the season.
While delivering presents and food for holiday meals to one of the families I was handed a small gift after we finished unloading. I still remember the mother and one of her children, a little boy about 2 or 3 years old. I was surprised that they would offer me something, knowing they had little to give, but it was obviously important to them to give something in return.
Visiting my home during the holidays you would probably walk past this decoration without seeing it or knowing its significance. However, if you do happen to notice the small baby food jar with the holiday napkin decoration glued round the outside; a pretty maroon and gold striped ribbon tied around the threads; and a red votive candle inside, stop and admire the simplicity of this precious gift. A gift given out of love and appreciation, as all gifts should be. A gift given when no gift was required or expected. A gift from one grateful heart to one very humbled heart that I hope will stay with me throughout the rest of my life as a reminder of the true spirit of this special holiday season.
Remember the spirit of giving from the heart, no matter how big or small and I hope you have a happy and blessed holiday season.