12 Lessons I’ve Learned About Giving

Carly BensonPractice, Spirituality

tis the season

This past weekend a large group of us went out and donated boxes upon boxes of food to the needy.  As we were handing the boxes out in a small apartment building, we knocked on a door to an older woman who only spoke Creole.

When she realized we came to bring her a big box of food for the holidays, her smile came to life and she threw her hands up in the air with excitement.  The only thing she knew how to say in English was “I love you.” She said it over and over as I gave her a hug and wished her a Merry Christmas.

As I walked away, it occurred to me that it was quite possible that a lot of these people may not have had anyone to hug them or wish them well during the holiday, let alone help to feed them.

I went into the day thinking how awesome it would be to help meet the needs of those who were less fortunate.  What I did not realize would be most touching to me was how loving, kind and grateful each of them would be towards us. To me, that was the best gift I will receive this Christmas.

As the holiday approaches, it’s always a good time to remember what this time of year is about. Of course, it’s about spending time with your loved ones and creating memories you can look back on with fond eyes.

But it’s also about giving. While gifts are fun, often times we can get so wrapped up in the shopping frenzy and forget the basis of what Christmas is truly about.

While much of Christmas has become a man made retail event, it is still a celebration of life. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and what his life, death and resurrection meant. God gave his only son so that many of us could experience a life free of sin and ultimately gain eternal life if we believe, and not only believe but act, wholeheartedly in these truths.

If we really dive into this gift of life, we can see God’s generosity as He gave this to us, and as such we should mirror this with our intentions in our own giving.

Growing up as an only child, it took me a long time to learn that life is less about getting and more about giving. In my quest to evolve into a better person, here are:

12 Lessons I’ve Learned About Giving

1. Simply put: Give to give, not to get. We should give because we want to, not because we have to or because we want anything in return.

2. Be more concerned with giving than receiving. It is surprising how much more we actually receive with this mentality. And by more, I mean in terms of our hearts.

3. Be giving of our time.  Our time and full attention is often the best gift of all.

4. Remember it is the thought that counts. I’m a big fan of thoughtful gifts, even if they are just words in a card, edible affections or for anyone who really knows me – musical presents.

5. Everyone, everywhere, all the time  – always understands a smile. Give more smiles. They are a significant currency that can be used any where in the world.

6. Let our desires to help others and make others smile far outweigh our wants or wish list.

7. Give love. Big love. Make sure your loved ones know who they are. You never know when or if this will be someone’s last holiday with you. Life is short and it moves quickly.  Take the time to say I love you and not only to say it, but to show it.

8. Give genuinely. It’s important to be ourselves with our loved ones, not who we think they want us to be or who we want them to think we are. Be real and give the raw version of yourself.

9. Keep the less fortunate in mind. There are so many people who dread the holidays either because they can’t afford it or they are lonely.  It is so humbling to see how a box of food can light up someone who is starving brighter than anything I’ve ever seen.

10. It is less about the gifts and more about the opportunity to bond with our family and friends. Let it be more about strengthening our love for the important people in our lives.

11. We have already received the best gift we will ever get – the opportunity to live a life walking with Christ.  Whether or not you choose to open that gift is up to you.

12. Give thanks.

On that note, thank you so much for supporting and reading Miracles Are Brewing.  Each of you are treasured gifts in my life. I’m so thankful for each one of you and love you all from the bottom of my heart. I hope that you and your families experience a joyful holiday together full of fun, love and…giving.

xo