Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To give really is better than to receive

Had you told me this when I was a kid (and I am sure some of you did), I may not have believed you. Christmas was about getting presents. Giving was good. I have always known that, but getting...that was the stuff. 

Then, I fell in love. Christmas 1998 was my first with my wife and it seemed like I could not give her enough. I was a college student and didn't have much money (got my first full time job two days after Christmas that year.) But, what I did have I wanted to give her. Sure, getting gifts was nice, but making her happy was even nicer. 

Fast forward a few years. I had gained a deeper appreciation for my parents (as most people do after they live on their own for a few years. Thanks Mom and Dad!) Add with that my wife's family (who I love very much), and add new friends (who are more awesome with every year that goes by), and giving took on a deeper meaning still. 

Then, the boy came along. My boy. My very own. My son. I had no concept for the range of emotions that you can go through as a parent. They are good ones...most of them anyway. Giving to him has given me an even more heightened awareness that it is better to give than to receive.

Fast forward a couple more years. I feel more blessed than I can recount. I have very few real needs in my life. They are there and being addressed, but I am aware that there are many who are not as fortunate as I. I am by no means rich, but I do have a roof over my head, I am cooking a warm meal as I type, and there are presents under the tree for my family this Christmas. For those who are not so fortunate this Christmas I say a prayer and am moved to find ways to help. Giving to them is so much better than receiving myself, because by giving they find what they need and I find even more joy at Christmastime. 

As far as wants, I have them, and they are on the horizon and I have set my sights on achieving them. Some are toys for fun. Not all of the wants are things I can hold in my hands. To me those will be worthwhile pursuits. There are places I want to go with my family. Experiences I want to share with them. Lives I want to impact for the good. These are the things that I want the most. 

How has your view of giving and receiving changed over the years? What events have happened in your life to lead you to this view?

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