Aspects of Giving

Yesterday was present wrapping day. Rachel finished hers; I did mine…

As a child, Christmas presents were put under a blanket, on the sofa, in the lounge (only entered on special occasions). We all bought presents for each other – Mum, Dad, 4 boys, and Gran…

Duty… From an early age I was given pocket money… but it wasn’t all for me. Some I was to put in the church collection; some was to be saved – for holidays and presents. I was expected to buy presents for other family members.  

Distribution… Presents were distributed and unwrapped in turn. I learnt patience, appreciating what others had received without jealousy.

Disappointment… What I wanted couldn’t always be afforded; I learnt to say thank you and be grateful even if I was disappointed that the gift wasn’t quite what I wanted…

Demonstration… One year I bought my Mum an enamelled metal butterfly brooch from Woolworths. What was most important to me wasn’t her ‘thank you’ but that she often wore it. I learnt that gifts could be valued even if they didn’t have great material value.

Musing on those aspects of giving… lessons I’m still learning…

Duty… I receive so that I may give… materially – the donation to a worthwhile cause… my talents – musically, practical skills…  my love, joy, peace, strength, hope… my time… These aren’t mine to keep; they’re to give away.

Distribution… Some folk work hard all of their life and have little; others appear fortunate and have a lot… Gifts of health, rewarding employment, a happy family… are wrapped and distributed in unexpected and unexplained ways…

Disappointment… Some friends are disappointed with the way life has worked out for them… the life-limiting illness, the failed relationship… I’m sometimes disappointed with what others have given me… more often I’m disappointed with what I’ve given myself…

Demonstration… Living in an attitude of gratitude… Increasingly I discover that the truth ‘It is in giving that we receive’ needs not to be discussed but discovered.

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