Holidays · Relationships

Give! Receive! Rejoice!

Give! Receive! Rejoice!In a twinkle of an eye, and faster than Santa’s sleigh’s departure off my rooftop, Christmas Day will soon be here! December 25th is fast approaching and will be here even before we can recite all the names of Santa’s reindeer. Christmas brings with an enchantment that even Disney with all its “Magic” cannot hold a candle to.The candle light of the Christmas season lights a fire of love the entire world can see. This love once ignited is passed on in a contagious transforming way that is non-short of miraculous. Most of us want Christmas time to last forever at least in our hearts.

The older I get the more I like to remember “when…”, and not just at Christmas, but all year. I like to recount out loud with family or friends past events, or just contemplate those days in my mind. Life has no rewind button, so you must learn to enjoy each present moment. How about you? Are you a moment-recollector too?  Moms, start a new tradition this year, a Christmas memory box or a Christmas journal. First buy a brand new journal, or a pretty memory box, and some index cards, then label the box or journal, “Christmas Moments to Remember.” On New Years gather as a family and write down your favorite part of that Christmas. Let every family member contribute. What a treasure it will be to look back each year and read together what past Christmas memories have been special to all. This collection of “Christmas Moments to Remember” could be passed from generation to generation.

My favorite Christmas memories are those that come wrapped with a life lesson inside. Those are gifts that keep on giving.The Christmas season was in full swing and I and my husband were enjoying our once a week date at our favorite restaurant. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature advertisement placed in the center of the restaurant which read, “GIVE, RECEIVE AND REJOICE!”  It was such a great Christmas slogan that I stored it in the part of my memory that does not have a “delete” button. I love to give at Christmas and all through the year. I think of myself as a cheerful giver. I even give extravagantly, at times. I have actually had people say to me, “Please don’t give me any more…” (Whatever I was sending their way.) I am always baffled by their response. Why don’t they just say, “Thanks?” While once perplexed over this, I now conclude, they do not understand! Many years ago, I was freed from the bondage of, “GIVING TO GET,” and moved into the grace of, “GIVING TO BLESS.” Giving freely and not expecting anything in return sets you free in such a way you won’t understand until you have experienced it. My motto has become, “BE GOOD, BE GRATEFUL AND BE GENEROUS!” Yes, I aim at being a grateful giver, as well as a grateful receiver. Christmas is a great time to do a heart check. Are you a grateful giver? Are you a grateful receiver? Moms are you trying to cultivate thankfulness and generosity in your children?

I prefer to buy gifts for the grateful of heart. Gratefulness encourages me to give again. A grumpy receiver is always a challenge to buy for. I am often tempted to just write them a check or mail a gift card. After all don’t they say, “It is the thought that counts?” I know that giving to bless, means expecting nothing in return, not even a thank you. Like Santa Claus, I choose to be invisible in word and in action. On the other hand, buying for those who truly appreciate the gift no matter what is given doubles my joy.

I not only learned a life lesson that year but saw the lesson lived out. I bought one of my favorite priests a Christmas gift. His reaction was the perfect example of  a “cheerful and grateful receiver!” It was a cold December day, and I was shopping when an article caught my eye. I immediately knew it would be the perfect gift for this priest. If you knew him, you would agree. It was a plaque, and even though I usually refrain from buying plaques, what it said was so appropriate. It said:

LOVE GENEROUSLY

PRAISE LOUDLY

LIVE FULLY

I thought to myself, that plaque describes our priest to a “T”! It is the perfect gift! I laughed to myself as I put it in my cart and raced to the checkout counter. I was almost late, to meet my husband for the annual staff Christmas luncheon. I had found my perfect gift, just in the nick of time.

As I walked into the church hall I was greeted by who else, but our priest. I gave him the present which he opened instantly. He then began to read the entire plaque out loud. Laughing he remarked, “It is the perfect gift for my office.” The next day, less than 24 hours later, I received a thank-you note in the mail. A joyful receiver was he! Later, I could not help but think that it is just as important to be a cheerful giver as a cheerful receiver. Hopefully it is a lesson I will never forget.

So, this Christmas check your heart. Ask yourself am I a “grateful or grumpy receiver?” Make it your aim to cultivate a heart full of gratitude and look for opportunities to bless others. Adopt the motto, “Give to bless and not to get.” Then if someone does bless you, for heaven’s sake, just say, “Thanks!”

GIVE!!! RECEIVE!!! REJOICE!!!  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
photo credit: A gift via photopin (license)

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