'You're far happier giving than getting..even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it...'
There a few times in every year that we deliberately practice the art of particularised gift giving, where we take the time to bless others on a number of very specific occasions, for a number of very specific reasons.
Birthdays, special events, romantic advances or just random acts of kindness, just a few of the primal reasons that undergird our intrinsic philanthropic consciousness.
The value we place on the recipient goes to the core of how we ask our imagination to explore the possibility of what we can do to honour and invest in their well being. Sometimes we get caught up in the competitive peer pressure of monetary value and our need to impress the receiver with the perceived value we place on the relationship. The altruistic adage that it is the thought that counts seems to pale in comparison to the consumeristic narcissism that drives western thinking.
Revitalising the art of gift giving is about moving beyond the shallow act of mutual exchange that is based on some kind reciprocity or value equivalent, and reengaging with the spirit of charity that hums to the sound of the universal mantra .."it is more blessed to give than receive".
'God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well'. - Voltaire
We practice giving as a reminder that we have been given the greatest gift of all - LIFE, and the real gift we have to offer others is a living testament of hopeful fulfilment. They often say that when choosing a gift for someone you often get them what you would get yourself, as if to suggest that the deeper meaning of giving is the thing-behind-the-thing.
You are thing-behind-the-thing, the life that animates any material offering you might bring to another. It is often surprising to see that as the recipient of a gift we often respond more graciously and gratefully based on the depth of relationship we have. Which goes to prove that the real gift is the person who hands are opening towards us with benefaction, offering themselves in the metaphor of the subsequent endowment.
'They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart'. - Charles W. Howard
Around this time of the year we enter into the spirit of Christmas by considering our love ones, or ones who we would like to love us, to somehow embrace the overarching narrative of the Santa or Jesus story who compete for our attention and affection. The over zealous religious types amongst us tend to get flustered and try to reinforce the true meaning of the season, somewhat afraid that Santa (an anagram of SATAN) is going to get the upper hand and deprive our children of the true meaning of Christmas. And while I am a bigger fan of the seemingly less popular story of the baby Jesus gift that has been given to humankind, I am not worried that he will be trumped (this word will never be the some) by a red suited guy in a flying sled who delivers presents on Christmas. The reason I am not panicking is because 'gift giving' has a certain transcendent quality to it that will always point a way back to God, the original giver of life who always finds a way into the human heart.
‘So, put a little bit of extra thought into every gift you give this Christmas and watch how it shapes deeper meaning in the relationships that you consider valuable'.
Peace and good will to all….