December 22

Think of giving not as a duty
but as a privilege.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.


Today's Meditation:

'Tis the season for giving right now, at least in the countries that celebrate Christmas.  It's a time of the year when we all focus on giving to others (while still making sure that others know what we want for Christmas!), and that focus is one of the most beautiful examples of what it means to be a human being that most of us will witness.  Keeping our minds on what other people want versus always thinking about what we want--it's a wonderful way to approach life and living.

When we look at why we give, though, sometimes the answer may not be as pleasing to us as it would seem.  Sometimes we give because we have to, because we're expected to, because that's what a situation calls for.  Sometimes our giving is hesitant or even downright resentful, and that can never be healthy.  When we give, though, that means that we have the resources available to be able to give, and we also have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the life of another human being--and that is a tremendous privilege if we approach it right.

With every gift that we give, we have a great chance to tell a person that he or she matters, that he or she is special to someone else, that he or she has value to us.  Every gift is a chance to underscore the things that can make people feel good about themselves, and that's a great chance to have.

And again, having the privilege of giving a gift means that we have the ability to do so.  We have the means available to us to learn what someone else wants and to be able to get that something for them.  There are many, many people in this world who are almost never able to get gifts for others, no matter how much they may want to, and being able to get gifts is truly a gift in itself.  And looking at gift-giving as a privilege can definitely be a shift in perspective that provides us with a wonderful gift for ourselves.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to look at gift-giving as a chore or a duty?

How often do we truly give a great deal of thought to our gift-giving opportunities?

What does it mean to you to think of gift-giving as a privilege?

For further thought:

We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

More on giving.


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