'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.